Public awareness manual

Get a Grip on Fraud

Action guide for memorable fraud-awareness events


Inspire consumers to act
Fraud fighters around the U.S. are launching public-awareness events to wake up the nation against insurance fraud.

Awareness events are inspiring concerned citizens to talk about insurance fraud over morning coffee ... making people think twice about committing this crime ... and convincing consumers to take action.

The timing is important. More people tolerate insurance fraud today, research reveals. We need to turn America against this crime ... empower consumers to avoid being bilked ... and show citizens how to report cheaters.

Discover tested outreach ideas
That’s why the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud created an online outreach manual — Get a Grip on Fraud. This valuable resource supports your fraud-awareness days, weeks or months. It’s full of street-tested ideas. And it’s budget-sensitive ... you’ll need creativity more than big funding.

Fraud fighters made Get a Grip on Fraud possible. State agencies, volunteer groups and others shared their best outreach ideas. The Coalition added many ideas of our own. This manual has two parts:

Text: Loads of cool outreach ideas ... plus steps for managing your campaign. See links beneath gallery.

Gallery: Sample of material used in awareness campaigns — fraud and non-fraud. The ideas will inspire your imagination. You’ll find everything from news releases to webpages and even Twitter “tweets.”

We need committed citizens and fraud fighters who’ll inspire America to Get a Grip on Fraud. Thank you for your involvement.

Create A Leadership Group

Research The Big Idea

Decide Your Campaign: The Big Idea

Set Campaign Goals

Audiences: Who Should You Reach?

Budgeting & Guerilla Funding

Develop Memorable Messages

Project Management: Grid-Unlock

Create Brand Identity

Campaign Ideas

Working With ... Nifty Numbers

Working With ... Reporters

Working With ... Social Media

Measure Results

Special Thanks


CREATE A LEADERSHIP GROUP

Form a core group to lead your awareness effort and make the decisions. Keep the group relatively small so it’s efficient, but be as inclusive as possible. IASIU chapters, key law enforcement and the fraud bureau are among the possible inner circle.

› Hint: Start planning at least six months in advance, and preferably a year. It’s surprising how quickly your campaign can creep up amid all the planning details.

› Hint: Consider adding “core” members as your campaign gains focus. Among the possibilities: Responsible consumer, senior or ethnic groups ... other state/local anti-crime agencies ... and anti-crime nonprofits. They can provide credibility, valuable advice and resources. Decide if they’ll be campaign decision-makers or simply official advisors.

› Hint: Create an honorary committee of respected officials or groups who’ll endorse your effort and add credibility. You won’t ask them to do any work, just lend their good name or maybe issue a supportive news release. Promote the honorary committee on news releases, your campaign website, event signage and other venues.


RESEARCH THE BIG IDEA

This is the brainstorming stage, also called the Environmental Scan. You’re gathering ideas, asking questions, seeking opinions. Your campaign’s core focus — The Big Idea — will emerge from this messy pile of concepts everyone’s tossing around during the early planning meetings.

• What insurance fraud problems exist in your state or region? Are the problems large and costly? Who’s affected? Any data to illustrate the fraud problems?

• Are other anti-fraud groups planning a similar awareness event? Are there any national/state anti-crime awareness events on which you can piggyback?

• What’s the funding environment like? Anyone have good relationships with leaders in the school system (if you’re considering school programs)? What anti-fraud (or general crime) programs have others done — and how successful were they? The questions are endless.

› Hint: Often, especially during your first year, the best goal is just to get your campaign launched and underway. So your initial goals might be modest — obtain a governor’s proclamation and hold one achievable awareness event. You can increase your ambitions as you learn from each year’s effort.

› Hint: Look for tie-in opportunities. Work with other events such as National Crime Prevention Week ... statewide crime awareness events ... or local community, church or career fairs. See how you might provide speakers or booths, or get involved in other ways.

› Hint: Consider a pilot program in a smaller locale, learn from your experiences, then expand to more locales the next year.


DECIDE YOUR CAMPAIGN: THE BIG IDEA

Once you’ve finished your basic research and brainstorming, then decide your campaign focus —the Big Idea. It can be as simple as holding a student poster contest, or alerting consumers about arson (or fake health plans). Or as big as an elaborate statewide campaign warning people about insurance fraud in general.

Once you’ve found your Big Idea, you can start adding all the Smaller Ideas (strategies and tactics) that will support your Big Idea. See Campaign Ideas below. You decide.


SET CAMPAIGN GOALS

Make your campaign goals as specific and measurable as possible. You’ll learn how effective your campaign is, and can better adjust next year’s effort. For example:

• How many entries should you attract for your essay or poster contest?

• How many people do you want to attend your fraud fair?

• How many positive news articles covering your awareness effort?

• How many visits to your campaign website?

A good “dumbbell aid” is the SMART principle: Your goals should be:

Specific: Clearly defined and well-understood?

Measurable: Can each goal be measured for evaluating afterward?

Achievable: Given budget, timetable and other issues, can you achieve your plan?

Realistic: Are you being realistic, given your resources?

Time: What’s your timeframe for achieving your campaign goals?


AUDIENCES: WHO SHOULD YOU REACH?

Who are you trying to reach, and why? It’s fine to target several audiences — but prioritize them so you spend your time and budget efficiently. Here are several potential audiences:

• General adult public (who commit most fraud, and are most fraud victims)

• High school students (e.g., essay or poster contest)

• Senior citizens (maybe seniors often are being targeted for scams)?

• Legislators and other policymakers (e.g., announce a fraud bill)

• News media (which can be a conduit for reaching your other audiences)

• Internal audiences, such as employees. A campaign offers a great educational and team-building opportunity.

› Hint: Gear your messages and tactics to each audience. Maybe you want to hold a fraud fair, for instance. You’ll send out general announcements. But if you also want seniors to come, maybe you send news releases to assisted-living facilities, alerting them about senior scams. Maybe local Hispanic citizen groups should be notified — in Spanish, if needed.


BUDGETING & GUERILLA FUNDING

How much will your campaign cost? Develop a detailed breakdown. Now for the really interesting part: How will you fund your effort?

You may not have a pirate’s treasure chest of gold, but you have something more valuable: You’re clever. So consider guerilla funding via donations of-kind services, bartering, and partnering with other groups to combine resources. Call them sponsors, donors or supporters. Thank them on event signage, news releases and other public ways.

Web or graphic design firms. Ask local specialty vendors to contribute design of items such as flyers, campaign logo or basic event website.

Printing firms. See if a printer will produce your flyers, brochures or other material.

Public relations agencies. Most agencies offer full turnkey communications services. They might even adopt your campaign as a pro bono community service project. Agencies can help with news coverage, marketing/promotion, web and publication design, and printing.

Colleges & universities. Grad or undergrad students might offer free or low-cost PR, design, marketing or web design. It’s a great project for talented students looking for real-world experience — possibly as a course project or internship.

Other civic-minded businesses. They might donate funds or in-kind services or funds. Many have programs to support worthwhile causes, and fraud fighting may fit that profile. Perhaps a bank or utility company or other business that recognizes a good community causes. If your company or agency does business with one of these firms, that’s a good opening (e.g., banks can be especially amenable to supporting loyal customers).

Insurers. Would insurer home offices donate inhouse design, web or printing services? Or they might ask outside vendors with which they do considerable business.

Friends & relatives. Capitalize on personal relationships. Does anyone have friends, in-laws, cousins, college friends, bowling team buddies or others who own printing firms, design studios or other businesses that might help out?

News outlets. Ask a newspaper, radio or TV station to sponsor your effort, or part of the effort. Or maybe to provide in-kind services such as campaign T-shirts or other memorabilia. The news outlet also may cover your effort as part of the relationship.

Your pitch. Fighting fraud is a worthy community cause, and a newsworthy issue that affects residents in the locales these outlets cover. This is especially true for news outlets in smaller communities, where the local ties between the outlet and local causes can be especially close.

Foundations. Check out foundations that fund anti-crime causes in your state or region. Be sure to look into insurer foundations as well.

Other ideas. Consider approaching anti-fraud organizations or regional insurance associations for funding.


DEVELOP MEMORABLE MESSAGES

You’ll want to develop forceful anti-fraud messages that people will remember. The exact messages will depend on your campaign’s focus, but these general themes might form the framework for your talking points:

• How big the fraud problem is

• How fraud harms us all, and

• What we all can do about it (fight back)

› Hint: Keep your messages simple and clear — three main talking points max. That’s as much as most people will remember. Keep repeating your core messages throughout your campaign to ensure people understand and remember your points.

› Hint: Give people action items — ways they can help fight fraud — not just ideas to think about. Report suspected cons to the fraud hotline? Watch out for staged accidents or fake health plans? Avoid torching your car for insurance money?


PROJECT MANAGEMENT: GRID-UNLOCK

You’ll need tools to manage your campaign logistics, a roadmap that helps you stay on track. Consider a simple grid with checkbox cells. The grid might include items such as:

• Strategy/task

• Person(s) responsible

• Steps needed to complete

• Completion dates for each step

• Section for notes.

› Hint: Consider easy-to-use commercial project-management software. You also might adapt your employers’ inhouse project software.


CREATE BRAND IDENTITY

Group name. Consider giving your campaign organization an easy-to-remember name. If your effort focuses on arson for profit, maybe call your group Help Erase Arson Threats (HEAT). Then add a tagline such as Put More Heat On Arson (see below).

Tagline & logo. Develop a creative campaign logo and tagline that make your effort stand out. Here are several taglines to inspire your own creative juices. If you want to adopt any verbatim, contact the sponsoring organization.

Help Stamp Out Fraud — Virginia State Police

Know the Risks. Know the Penalties. — Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority

Fraud: The Crime You Pay For — Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority

Verify Before You Buy — Florida Department of Financial Services

Stop. Call. Confirm. — National Association of Insurance Commissioners

Get a Grip on Fraud — Coalition Against Insurance Fraud (model language)

Fed Up With Fraud — Coalition Against Insurance Fraud (model language)

Insurance Fraud: We All Pay — Coalition Against Insurance Fraud (model language)

Arson for Profit: Cashing in With Fire — U.S. Fire Administration (2009)

Stay Fire Smart. Don’t Get Burned. — National Fire Protection Association (2009)

Vehicle Arson: Who Pays for this Crime? — U.S. Fire Administration (2007)

Insurance Fraud: Recognize It. Report It. Stop It. — Insurance Bureau of Canada

School Arson: A Burning Subject — U.S. Fire Administration (2005)


CAMPAIGN IDEAS

Your campaign should revolve around at least one Big Idea — or maybe several Big Ideas. It’s what people will most think and remember about your effort. Here are some ideas to mull. Some could form your core focus...others might be supporting strategies and tactics. You can also package several together. Look these ideas over, and you decide what’s right for your efforts.

Proclamation. An official proclamation from the governor, legislative leader, mayor or other key official is a great ceremonial start. Contact that official’s office at least three months before your campaign opens. Provide the exact proclamation wording so it’s easy for the office to sign and issue the document.

› Hint: A proclamation alone usually isn’t news. To earn news coverage, your proclamation should be supported by more-concrete news about fraud trends, data, awareness campaign details or other significant fraud happenings.

Crime or Fraud Fair. Hold a crime fair with allied anti-crime groups and law enforcement. You can have colorful info booths...brochures...demonstrations of law enforcement techniques (e.g., fingerprint people, take their arrest mug shots) and other ways to engage citizens with fraud concepts.

› Hint: The fair becomes networking event for fraud fighters, who can exchange business cards and build new career contacts. It also may become an informal job fair for talented people looking for anti-fraud employment.

Anti-fraud award. Honoring a state fraud fighter with an award annually gives you an excellent way to tell the fraud story. The presentation ceremony also might earn news coverage that further spreads your message. Among the potential awards:

• Fraud Fighter of the Year (open-ended)

• Prosecutor of the Year

• Fraud Investigator

• Arson Investigator

• Citizen Hero

• Legislator.

Latest fraud trends. Issue a report (with detailed news release) on the newest fraud trends in your state or region. Reporters are always looking for new crime trends ... consumers can be fascinated ... and documented trends can give policymakers ideas about new legislation or anti-crime crackdowns. Some ideas:

• Is the economy causing a spike in fraud?

• What’s the overall fraud scene like in your state/region?

• Are home arsons or vehicle giveups spiking?

• Fake health plans spreading?

• Senior cons growing fast?

› Hint: Have as much data as possible, and consider recruiting a fraud victim or court-ordered cheater to speak out. Include recent cases and their impact on local residents. Also consider a joint news conference with law enforcement, civic or consumer groups.

Survey. Conduct a consumer survey asking what people think about fraud ... if they’ve ever committed this crime ... if they would, if they could ... if they know anyone who’s ever committed fraud ... or intends to commit fraud. Make this an annual survey to track changing public attitudes over the years.

Hall of Shame. Put a human face on insurance fraud. Announce a statewide Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame or year’s most-outrageous cases (or maybe Unlucky 13). Make it an annual news event revealing the most brazen fraud crimes in your state over the past calendar year.

› Hint: Adjudicated cases are best. Be fair to suspects, who are presumed innocent. You also could have a legal exposure if a suspect later is acquitted and sues you.

Study of consumer attitudes. Reporters crave credible data-driven research. A study of people’s attitudes about insurance fraud may attract plenty of news coverage. If budget is a problem, see if a graduate school in statistics, criminology or related profession would conduct the a credible study for free or low-cost as a student project.

Dramatic media event. Consider staging a dramatic visual fraud event for reporters that graphically drives home your anti-fraud message. You could earn plenty of news coverage that proves that a single anti-fraud picture is worth a thousand words.

Torch a car. Do a controlled car burn to show what happens when cheaters torch cars for insurance money. An explosion when gasoline is tossed into the car also can show how dangerous this crime can be. This can be great for TV cameras.

Dredge up sunken cars. A crane or tow truck pulling cars from a lake, river or canal creates a solid visual event for TV news cameras.

Burn a home. Invite reporters to view an insurer or fire department burning of an abandoned home during a training exercise. This can reinforce messages against home arsons, with a strong visual impact.

Stage a staged accident. Shows how staged crashes work and how dangerous they can be. A local raceway is a good site, and the event makes for great TV. In fact, TV stations might even shoot your event from helicopters.

Show surveillance video. Reveal footage of a suspect committing fraud, such as a slip-and-fall artist in a grocery store or parking lot.

Churches. Many churches look for dynamic speakers and programs about issues that affect their parishioners and community they serve.

School programs. Consider holding school-based events. Kids enjoy the participation, schools enjoy the educational opportunity, and you may gain positive news coverage. Some ideas:

Essay contest. Hold an essay contest for school kids. Work with your school districts to make this a fun school project that helps kids learn at an early age about the damage that insurance fraud causes everyone.

• Consider topics such as: “How fraud hurts us all” or “How we can fight fraud.”

• Offer a prize such as a cash award, scholarship or savings bond

• Hold an award ceremony — invite reporters and key officials

• Promote the winner(s) with news coverage.

Poster contest. Hold a poster contest for school kids. Display all entries or top finishers at a visible locale such as city hall, state capitol or insurance department. Make this an official school event, with prizes, presentation and publicity. TV cameras especially like to film colorful posters for news.

Go to prison. Have police “arrest” students, finger print and create an “official” mugshot, and “charge” them with insurance fraud. Tour a prison or local jail and even eat a real prison meal there. Have a correctional officer talk about prison life. If a prison facility isn’t feasible, consider having law enforcement or correctional officer give talks at schools or other facilities.

Junior fraud investigators. Have fraud investigators give a lively talk to classes about insurance schemes. Have them complete puzzles, fraud IQ quizzes or other interactive games. Graduate each student as an “official” Junior Fraud Investigator, presenting them with a signed certificate and badge.

Tour anti-fraud facility. Give students a tour of a fraud bureau or insurer SIU facility. Show how anti-fraud software works (within limits of confidentiality) and give a talk about fraud. Graduate the students as Junior Fraud Investigators.

Facebook video contest. Hold a contest asking people to contribute a short anti-fraud video that will be posted on your Facebook site.

Campaign website. Create a campaign-specific website that people can visit to learn everything about your awareness campaign and issues. Promote your website in all campaign materials. It can have a freestanding URL, or be a sub-section of your partner organizations’ main websites. Or both.

Your website can build interest and excitement with features such as:

• Why you’ve launched the campaign, and why it’s important to the people of your state/region

• Schedule of events (with contacts)

Scam alerts about key fraud topics

• Recap of each day’s events, including photos

• Puzzles, fraud IQ tests and other fun, interactive games

• Fraud facts (local & national. Consider humanizing large numbers by relating them to everyday ideas in people’s lives.)

• Governor’s proclamation

• Daily blog on the awareness campaign and your candid thoughts about fraud issues

• Campaign sponsors/supporters, with links

• How to report fraud

• News, including event officials who reporters can contact for info

• Links to other anti-fraud organizations (especially partners & sponsors).

Enjoyable fraud games. Interesting games let people interact with fraud ideas in a fun way. This helps them better understand — and remember — your messages. Hand out the games at your event, post on your website — maybe a restaurant will print your games on paper placemats to help the cause.

• Test your fraud IQ. Create a multiple-choice test about insurance fraud, a specific fraud topic, or several fraud topics. Maybe an IQ test about staged accidents or home arson.

• Crossword puzzle. Just like in the newspapers, but fill in the blank squares with fraud words.

• Word search puzzles. Find the fraud words hidden in a grid of seemingly random words.

› Hint: Anyone who plays (or gets a perfect score) is entered into a prize drawing.

› Hint: Great for general consumers and school events.

Dramatic speakers. Enlist consumers who were bilked by fraud schemes...ask them to tell their story. They’ll carry a lot of dramatic weight, and can capture the popular imagination.

Fraud victims. Ask victims of insurance fraud to tell their stories in speeches, news interviews and other forums. This will put a human face on fraud, and reinforce how this crime can harm everyday people in your area.

Cheaters. Have convicted swindlers speak publicly about how getting busted messed up their lives, how much they regret their actions, and warning people not to commit fraud.

› Hint: Use a video with cheaters speaking out so you have maximum flexibility.

› Hint: Work with prosecutors and judges to require convicted cheaters to speak out against fraud as part of your awareness effort. The cheater’s message: Fraud harms everyone. Getting convicted can ruin the cheater’s life and harm innocent family members.

Billboards. Place anti-fraud billboards at well-traveled locations around the state or in targeted locales. Include tollfree hotline. Billboards cost money, but can be a great way to have thousands of people see your anti-fraud message every day.

› Hint: Your pitch to potential funders might be ... The money saved by just a handful of successful case leads to the hotline can more than pay for the cost.

Fugitives. Publicize fraud fugitives people should watch for. Hold a news conference or find other ways to publicize, and offer a reward for arrest and conviction.

Consumer alerts. Create and promote consumer fraud alerts. Describe the scam ... show how a given scam harms consumers ... include warning signs...and tell people how they can fight back.

› Hint: Post the alerts on your event website...include with news material for reporters .. .and hand out at awareness events.

Ethnic groups. With America’s immigrant population expanding in communities across the U.S., you’ll want to consider how your awareness effort can reach prominent ethnic groups such as Hispanics and Asians.

Leaders. Work with leaders of key ethnic communities. See how you can jointly reach these growing and influential audiences.

Languages. Translate key campaign materials into languages of other prominent ethnic groups in your campaign locale. Distribute in ethnic communities.

Ethic volunteers. Enlist ethnic fraud fighters who can speak these languages.

Learn. Understand how certain scams, such as staged auto crashes and unethical sales of policies, target immigrant groups.

Consumer columns. Newspapers and news websites are thirsty for news and features — especially smaller community outlets.

• Create a short consumer column about a fraud issue in your state. It should focus on schemes that directly victimize consumers, and tie in with your campaign.

• Smaller community newspapers are more likely to publish your columns. But you never know — larger newspapers, TV websites, bloggers and others may pick up your columns, so be inclusive when you send out your columns.

Brochures, posters, videos. Hand out eye-catching, practical consumer material at your awareness events. The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud has a library of consumer resources.

Landmark event. You may find a variety of interesting anti-fraud landmarks to promote:

Major anniversary. Has the fraud bureau or other key anti-fraud organization reached its 5th, 10th, 20th or 25th anniversary? Shout it out! Have an open house, conduct tours, create exhibits with photos, history of the fraud bureau, major achievements and other exhibits.

Notable fraud conviction. Has your state’s 1,000th, 5,000th (or whatever) fraudster just been convicted?

Fraud law. Is this a notable anniversary of passage of a landmark state fraud law?

Fraud hotline & reward program. Maybe there’s a new hotline or reward program to announce, or you want to support an existing hotline. This creates a great platform to discuss fraud. Also encourages people to get involved by showing them how to turn in suspected cheaters.

Town Hall meetings. Hold meetings with local citizens, fraud fighters, public officials and others. Encourage candid discussions about insurance fraud, how big and bad the fraud problem is, the damage fraud causes, and how it’s being combated. Use a well-known and accessible site such as — you guessed it — town halls. Hold a series of meetings to highlight fraud problems around the state. Invite reporters to cover the events.

Legislation. Your awareness event could form part of a push for involvement in anti-fraud legislation.

New fraud bill. Make your announcement at the state capitol, usually with the sponsoring legislator(s) taking the lead. Contact the Coalition’s Howard Goldblatt or 202-393-7332 for more ideas.

Petition blitz for a fraud law. This could be the starting point for a legislative push to pass a much-needed state fraud law.

Think outside of the (pizza) box. Find unusual ways to spread your anti-fraud messages.

• Will local pizza parlors print your messages on pizza boxes?

• Restaurants distribute placemats with fraud info, games/puzzles and cool cases?

• Promote participating community businesses as official sponsors.


WORKING WITH ... NIFTY NUMBERS

Fraud stats. Whatever your campaign focus, having decent fraud stats can energize your effort. You can show there’s a real fraud problem in your state or region. Reporters almost always ask for fraud data. Your news releases, flyers and websites can highlight the numbers. Public officials also can use your numbers in speeches supporting your effort.

But ... your numbers don’t have to be perfect. Airtight data can be hard to uncover. You want to show enough reasonable evidence that fraud is a problem you’re trying to solve and protect the public against.

If complete statewide numbers aren’t available, try county or even city agencies for some fraud crimes. Fire marshals, for example, might have data on suspected home or vehicle arsons. You might find enough localized numbers to create a decent case that certain kinds of fraud as a troubling issue. Here are some Nifty Numbers to think about ...

• Dollar losses (in bogus claims)

• Number of scams

• Number of people victimized

• Impact on premiums

• Taxes lost to the state (or county)

• Trends: have the numbers increased in recent years?

• Specific schemes that reveal newsworthy fraud trends: home arsons, vehicle giveups, staged accidents, premium schemes by businesses.

› Hint: Humanize big numbers. You can make large fraud numbers come alive with interesting comparisons to things in people’s everyday lives. This will help people better grasp how big fraud really is.


WORKING WITH ... REPORTERS

Gaining positive news coverage will go a long way toward your success. This includes media such as reporters, consumer columnists and bloggers. You’ll find them connected with newspapers, magazines, TV and radio (all of which post considerable online content).

Develop a media agenda...What’s your news goal? What are your key talking points? Know the pitfalls of dealing with the media to avoid negative press.

Media list. Call the newsrooms of news outlets in the locales where your events will happen, and find out which reporters cover crime news and insurance. Get their name, email and phone. Do they want to receive followup calls (some don’t)?

• Include popular (and influential) columnists and bloggers.

• Get your event(s) on the calendar of local news outlets and city/county websites. What’s the deadline for receiving calendar announcements of your upcoming event?

News conference. Consider holding a news conference — but only if you have really substantive news, such as a new fraud study/report or clear evidence of a significant fraud trend in the state/region. Otherwise, avoid news conferences and instead work via news releases and other contacts.

› Hint: Choose an interesting site if you do hold a news conference (and be sure to have food and coffee). The site depends on your fraud topic and message, but consider sites such as:

— Prison
— Courthouse
— Crime museum
— Impound lot for burned-out vehicles
— Busted chop shop

Informal reporter meetings. Take key reporters out to lunch, or meet for an off-the-record insider preview of your awareness effort and the fraud issues you’re covering. Many reporters will appreciate that you took the time to alert them. This also builds personal relationships that can lead to positive news coverage.

News releases. Send news releases (usually by email) to announce your awareness effort, and report on the results. Remember the five Ws: Who, What, Why, When, Where. Keep your releases short (two double-spaced pages max). Also include a pithy headline and news contact(s), and create a punchy lead paragraph that summarizes your news and shows why a reporter should be interested.

› Hint: Write attention-getting subject lines when you email releases. Many reporters with over-crowded inboxes will open — or trash — your release based solely on the subject line.

Editorials. Write op-eds for newspapers around your state or region. They should be tailored to the fraud problems in the newspaper’s community. The named author can be an anti-fraud expert from the newspaper’s community, or someone with statewide stature. Use data and examples wherever possible. Never submit the same op-ed to different newspapers (especially competing newspapers).

Editorial board meetings. Meeting with the editorial boards of key newspapers could inspire them to write editorials or news articles about fraud. Contact the editorial page editor to arrange a meeting to informally talk about your fraud issues with reporters and editors at the newsroom.

› Hint: Have clear, thoughtful news angles. Why should the news outlet care about insurance fraud? What’s the news? This means a clear and well-documented fraud issue or issues you want to share. Tailor your presentation to issues of interest statewide and — critically — the local readers of that newspaper.

› Hint: Is fraud spreading? What kind? How does it affect everyday people, businesses or the state/local economy? What needs to be done: new or better fraud laws? Better funding?


WORKING WITH ... SOCIAL MEDIA

Skillful use of social media can promote your events and spread your news quickly. Consider recruiting a volunteer who’s skilled in using new media to help promote your awareness effort. Here are several of the most-effective new media:

Facebook. Can be an all-purpose online center for posting updates about your campaign, displaying campaign material, videos, encouraging visitors to take part in your events, and sending out promotional blasts to the public.

YouTube. Can be a great place to post cool videos related to your campaign. Maybe you have surveillance footage or other nitty-gritty videos that relate to your overall campaign theme. It could attract a lot of attention. Sponsor a “create an anti-fraud YouTube video” contest.

Twitter. Can be helpful for brief (140-characters), up-to-the-minute updates on campaign events people (and reporters) should attend. You can include links to your event website or other material.

Blog. Create a blog that gives a daily rundown on what’s happened, the fraud issues, and the latest scheduled events. A blog gives you a great chance to talk up your program, build enthusiasm, and informally interact with people online about fraud and your event.


MEASURE RESULTS

At last, your hard work pays off and you’ve finished your awareness effort. Try to measure results against your benchmarks. This gives you a realistic way to see how well you did this year. It also creates benchmarks to see if you’re improving from one year to the next.

Precise impact measures can be tricky, but some basic ideas might be:

News coverage. How many news stories? How many readers/viewers/listeners (ask the reporter or advertising department for numbers)? In how many major markets in your state or region?

Attendance. How many people attended your fraud fair or other event?

Participation. How many submissions to your essay or poster contest?

Online visitors. How many visits or visitors to your campaign website?

Hotline calls. Did hotline calls spike if you were promoting the hotline? How many cases went to prosecution or were settled? How many suspicious claims were denied as a direct result of those calls (even if no court action), and what was the dollar value (i.e. savings) of those claims?

WANT TO BRAINSTORM?

Want to talk about awareness ideas and how they might work for you? Contact Jim Quiggle, director of communications, 202-393-7331.


SPECIAL THANKS

The following organizations have contributed valuable ideas, material and inspiration to this manual. They’re on the front lines of the fraud fight, helping tell a much-needed anti-fraud story to the public. Hats off to their hands-on efforts!

Arson Alarm Foundation
Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking
FBI
Florida Department of Financial Services
Idaho Department of Insurance
Idaho Fraud Awareness Coalition
Insurance Information Institute
Iowa-Nebraska Chapter IASIU
Kentucky State Arson taskforce
Los Angeles Police Department
Louisiana Auto Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority
Louisiana Insurance Department
Maryland Insurance Administration
Massachusetts Insurance Fraud taskforce (Lawrence)
Michigan Arson Prevention Committee
Michigan Chapter IASIU
Minnesota Insurance Federation
National Association of Insurance Commissioners
National Crime Prevention Council
National Fire Protection Association
National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association
National Insurance Crime Bureau
New Jersey Attorney General
New York Alliance Against Insurance Fraud
Northwest Insurance Council
Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (New Jersey)
Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority
Seniors Digest
South Carolina Insurance Fraud Investigators
South Carolina Insurance News Service
State Farm Insurance
Texas Association of SIUs
U.S. Fire Administration
Utah Fraud Bureau
Virginia State Police
West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce
Yolo County (Calif.) District Attorney

The following have peer-reviewed the manual, contributing time and ideas. We thank them as well.

Public Information Committee, Coalition Against Insurance Fraud

Frank Sztuk, Chair
National SIU Director
The Hanover Insurance Group

James L. Brown
Director, Center for Consumer Affairs
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

David Burr
National Marketing Director
Claims Verification, Inc.

Walter Dartland
Executive Director
Consumer Fraud Watch

Jennifer Hirst
Communications Coordinator
Florida Department of Financial Services

Ken McEldowney
Executive Director
Consumer Action

Sgt. Stacey Pearson
Louisiana State Police

David J. Rioux, CIFI
Vice President & Manager
Erie Insurance Group

Frank Scafidi
Director of Public Affairs
National Insurance Crime Bureau

These fraud fighters also reviewed the manual:

Catherine Gicker
Special Investigations
Allstate Insurance

Mary Look, CIFI, SCLA
Claim Manager
AAA Michigan
Public Awareness Chairperson, Michigan IASIU Chapter

Lt. Dan Stroski
Yolo County Sheriff Department

Patrick Yates
Claim Representative-SIU
State Farm Insurance