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Insurance Scammers Target Women, Cost Billions And Lives

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, October 08, 2009 11:04 AM EST
Category: On The Road
Tags: Insurance Fraud, Auto Accidents, Head and Neck Injury, Insurance Corporations

Caught On Tape


IMAGE SOURCE: ABC News Web site/ scam reenactment on tape

The accident is caught on tape.

A white SUV is pulled over to the right side of the road, sitting and waiting. Upon seeing a female driver approaching from the opposite direction, it blinks its lights signaling an accomplice.

The SUV driver then tells the women to pull in front of him into a shopping center driveway. She moves forward and he then pulls ahead, blocking her entrance.

She's been set up. The accomplice comes out of nowhere and plows into the passenger door of the vehicle. The white SUV drives away.

ABC News reports that the accidents appear to be the fault of the driver, but they’ve been a set up by insurance scammers.

The fraud involves a web or participants. The scammers, who claim head and neck injuries, may go for medical care a time or two, but doctors involved in the fraud write up fraudulent claims that they’ve visited 30 to 35 times.

Lawyers represent criminals posing as injured passengers whoinflate the damage to the “victims” bodies.

Ike Watkins says “There has been a big upswing in insurance fraud. A lot of people are out of work they need the money, so they get involved in these accidents,” says Ike Watkins, a special agent with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

Bogus insurance claims are costing insurers between $4.8 to $6.8 billion in additional payouts every year says the Insurance Research Council, which says about one in 10 insurance claims is fraudulent.

ABC reports that the same white SUV that caused the first accident, was caught on tape in the same area another day. For the most part these criminals are never caught.

Scam Turns Deadly

Not only is insurance being scammed, but people are being harmed.

In 2003, 71-year-old Alice Ross, a grandmother, was killed in a staged accident. When her car was intentionally rammed by another, she lost control and hit a tree. The scammer, Ward Demolair was convicted of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

”They like to find a nice car usually with a lone female driver car, a newer car because they are pretty sure it will have insurance on it,” says Watkins.

There is a pattern in the types of staged accidents:

The Panic Stop, the scammer looks for a distracted driver and then stops suddenly. When the distracted driver rear-ends them, the insurance scammers claim back and neck injuries.

In the Swoop and Squat - a crook driver erratically and pulls in front of a car, again rear ended by the unsuspecting driver, who appears to be at fault.

The Drive Down- usually at a stop, the scammer pretends to be courteous and waves you on then T-bones you, making it look like you are the one at fault.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau works for the insurance industry and is always looking for information on insurance fraud. Callers could be eligible for rewards. #

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