Each year consumers pay more for their auto and homeowners insurance policies as a direct result of fraud. The National Insurance Crime Bureau has heard all the stories—unnecessary auto glass repairs, aggressive and exorbitant towing charges, needless home repairs, total roof replacements, sinkhole damage, solicitation of accident victims—these and other kinds of insurance scams contribute to an annual loss amount estimated to be $30 billion just within the property and casualty industry.
Repair scams have one common element—a solicitation from an individual offering repair services. If a homeowner has requested an inspection or if an insurance company has authorized a vendor to conduct an inspection, that’s one thing. But an unsolicited, unexpected and random “inspection” visit from a service provider, whether it’s a glass repair technician, a roofer, or a structural engineer looking for sinkhole damage to your home could be the first step in a fraud scam. That is why NICB advises consumers to always consult their insurance company first before allowing anyone to perform any inspection or repair work that will be “covered” by their insurance.
Essentially, an unsolicited contact with you is a key indicator of possible fraud. When someone knocks on your door for a roof inspection and you did not request it; when you are approached at a service station by a glass repair technician offering “free” repair work; when a contractor appears at your door to provide an estimate for replacing your storm-damaged siding—all of these are potentially fraud precursors. That is why we stress, if you didn’t request it—reject it.
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Anyone with information concerning vehicle theft and insurance fraud can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422), texting keyword “fraud” to TIP411 (847411) or by visiting our Web site at www.nicb.org.
Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau – News Release, Feb 8, 2011