Most of us are hardworking honest people, who are building strong families and are productive members of our community. Unfortunately, there are a few people who try to take advantage of us and we need to be educated on what to watch for. Fraud, including insurance scams, is the second-most burdensome financial crime in the United States. Tax evasion is number one.
Your personal insurance company and agent can be a great resource to you before, during and after an accident.
Here are a few of the most common scams:
Forced Rear-ending – Typically, the scammer will slow down or come to a stop in busy traffic, or swoop in front of the victim at an intersection or an on-ramp, causing the driver to crash into them from behind. In most states, the person who rear-ended the other driver is the liable party, thus the scam begins. At this point, the scammer will claim high medical bills and unusual property damage, (loss of IPhone, damage to other personal property, etc).
Counterfeit Air Bags - Each year, about 1.6 million air bags inflate during crashes, saving thousands of lives. But, during the repair process, at least a small percentage of those deployed air bags will be replaced with counterfeits, which can be life-threatening. Make sure you use a reputable repair shop and ask to have factory airbags installed.
Windshield Replacement Rip-Offs - Don’t fall for the person in a van who stops you to say he can offer to fix your windshield. The scammer takes your insurance information and files a false claim. Only use well known repair shops.
Phantom Victims - Often after an accident, you are not fully aware of everyone and everything around you. The scam is the injured party will say there was another passenger in the vehicle and make a false claim. When gathering information after an accident, such as the other driver's license number and contact information, also count the number of passengers in the other car (if any) and take photos of the other car, its passengers, and the general scene.