News release

Alert: Don't Get Burned By These 5 Summer Insurance Schemes

6/22/2017

imageConsumers Should Be On the Lookout for Scams Involving Shoddy Home Repairs After Storms; Medical & Medicare ID Theft Cons; Setup Car Crashes; and Bogus Auto Repairs
 
WASHINGTON, June 22, 2017 — Insurance crooks are picking the pockets of consumers to line their own. Insurance fraud is one of America’s largest and fastest-growing financial crimes — at least $80 billion is stolen each year. Insurance swindles can steal your medical identity, drain life savings, ruin your credit, and cause permanent injury.

This month, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud is available for interviews about the “hottest” insurance schemes this summer, and how consumers can identify these scams to protect themselves and relatives. Common sense and staying alert are the best “mosquito repellents” for crooks this summer.

  • Extreme Weather Swindles — Shady contractors are preying on more and more homeowners now that extreme weather is more common in many parts of the U.S. Cleaning up home damage after floods, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes & high winds attracts predators. Stolen down payments and shoddy work are common scams by unlicensed contractors after weather events. Make sure you don’t get soaked twice by weather-related repair schemes!

  • Medicare Card Bamboozlers — An alert for older Americans: Your medical ID could be stolen this summer by crooks who are exploiting confusion about the upcoming shift to Medicare cards without SSNs. The change is being phased in, yet swindlers already are cold-calling seniors, claiming they’re from “the federal government.” They need to “confirm” your SSN, address, bank account and other info to “update” your Medicare account and issue a new card. Don’t get carded by a con man! Scammers are cold-calling seniors with other Medicare cons as well.

  • Scorching Hot Medical ID Thefts -- Another hot trend heading into the summer of 2017: Protect your medical ID from theft during the active summer season, and year-around. This crime is on the rise … and false medical charges can ruin your credit and cost you thousands. Carry your insurance card only for health appointments. Communicate with your medical provider using an encrypted portal. Regularly check your Explanation of Benefits for phony charges. Create accounts with your health insurer and prescription-drug provider to prevent thieves from signing up in your name.

  • Dollars & Dents: Body Shop Cons — Summer means more vacationing vehicles on the roads — and more dents, damage and bodywork. Make sure you have an honest body shop that does safe, reliable and honest repairs. Watch for shoddy, unsafe and inflated repairs that can drive up the cost of auto insurance.

  • Avoiding Summer “Set-up Crashes” — Renting a car on the road for your summer vacation? Just driving your own sedan around town for a staycation? Avoid getting suckered into staged crashes that seek to rip off you and your auto policy. Know the warning signs of a setup wreck that could be dangerous.

    To learn more about these and other schemes, go to http://www.insurancefraud.org.

    ABOUT THE CONSUMER EXPERT AVAILABLE TO YOU

    James Quiggle, consumer advocate, Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.

    Over the past 17 years as a leading advocate for the national nonprofit, CAIF, James Quiggle has helped raise public awareness about insurance fraud, regulatory reform, and key ways to unite society to combat this crime. He has overseen the Coalition's consumer education campaigns for 16 years, positioning the Coalition as one of America's most-trusted authorities on insurance fraud.

    Quiggle has appeared on CNN, ABC News, Fox News, CBS Evening News, ABC News and numerous feature shows, such as Good Morning America and the Today Show, and hundreds of live radio interviews nationwide, spanning his career. He has been quoted in in Kiplingers, Consumer Reports, Readers Digest, AARP, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, among many other major-market outlets.

    GUEST BOOKERS — A national consumer expert from the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud is available for interview about: hottest insurance fraud schemes to watch for this summer; and practical tips on how consumers can spot the warning signs and stay safe.
     
    TO ARRANGE AN INTERVIEW

    For guest bookings, one-on-one interviews and additional information about insurance fraud, contact Patrick Mitchell for the Coalition at (703) 276-3266 or pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com.

    ABOUT THE COALITION

    The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud is a national nonprofit alliance of more than 150 organizations representing consumers, government agencies, insurers and other businesses. Founded in 1993, the Coalition combats all forms of insurance fraud through legislation, consumer education and research.