That Facebook post just might get you caught!
It’s a familiar sight on Instagram or Facebook; one of your friends posts a picture of themselves looking a little sweaty, dressed in athletic gear, and beneath is the caption “oof, tough run this morning” or something similar.
Except this particular friend has a health insurance claim in progress for serious foot and ankle injuries after a slip and fall in a shopping mall parking lot. She has falsified documents for medical treatments and medication worth several thousand dollars, based upon the premise that she cannot even stand up unaided.
Well, her lucky streak just ended. The insurance companies have seen her post, and she has been busted.
Welcome to another day in the fight against insurance fraud using social media.
The Scale of the Problem
Insurance fraud is a big deal in the US. Statistics released by the FBI found that this type of fraud – excluding medical insurance fraud – accounts for $40 billion per year in lost revenue.
The average American family pays between $400 and $700 extra on their premiums each year to cover these losses!
The idea that insurance fraud is somehow a victimless crime is a false one. Insurance companies and law enforcement agencies take insurance fraud very seriously, and scammers do get caught, and they do get prosecuted.
Social Media Trails of Evidence
The example described above is an extreme one, but it is also common. Not all fraud is as easy to spot as this. However, pictures and videos do play a major part in helping to track down and stop fraudsters.
These are some of the most common pieces of evidence that careless fraudsters leave on social media:
- Pictures or videos of an activity they claimed they could not do – for example hiking when apparently incapacitated.
- Social media check-ins from somewhere the fraudster claimed not to be. Any instance of lying does not look good for an insurance claim.
- Pictures or videos from the above location.
- Pictures or videos taken with someone who is legally deceased.
- Pictures or videos documenting the spending of a sudden lump sum cash payment.
- Any posts which go against the narrative presented in the claim – for example, using an apparently damaged device.
- Posts which own up to insurance fraud directly.
As unbelievable as it sounds, people actually feel the need to brag about their crime on the internet!
How Do Insurance Companies Know?
For starters, the social media presence of the average person is not as secure as they think. Vast amounts of data and information are available via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and across a range of other platforms.
This requires no hacking or data mining; it simply requires the insurance company to take a look.
You might think that there are simply too many social media profiles out there, and too many claims taking place simultaneously for companies to find anything worthwhile, but you would be wrong. Modern automation platforms include mass search and monitoring tools designed specifically for this purpose. These pieces of software can trawl social media profiles looking for clues.
It is fairly easy for insurance companies and law enforcement officers to track you down.
The message is clear; fraud does not pay, and it never will.
Asurea offers Life Insurance, Mortgage Protection Life Insurance, Medicare Supplement Insurance, Final Expense Insurance, Disability Insurance, Long-term Care Insurance, Retirement Planning products and more. For additional information, click on the ‘Learn more’ button below. Want to have articles just like this delivered to your inbox? Just enter your email address in the box below and click ‘Subscribe.’
This information is provided for general consumer educational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice.