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Introduction to 10 Ways Insurance Agents Spot Fraudulent Claims

Insurance fraud is increasingly widespread, but agents have a variety of means for thwarting it.

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Insurance fraud is a bigger problem in the United States than you might guess. And the people who commit it are increasingly creative. While there are plenty of common scams out there -- like pretending you lost an expensive piece of jewelry, then filing a claim -- fraudsters also perpetrate scams by, say, staging accidents. For example, a motorist in front of you will suddenly hit the brakes in the hopes you'll hit him and he can fake an injury. Or someone will craft a fake vehicle title or registration for a nonexistent (but expensive) antique or luxury car, then report the car stolen and file a claim.

Such rip-offs cost Americans tens of billions of dollars a year. And unfortunately, they've become more prevalent, thanks to a sour economy that's causing some people to resort to desperate measures to bring in a little cash. Auto insurance fraud, for example, has risen dramatically -- and so has the number of people who believe cheating their auto insurer is acceptable [source: InsWeb].

However, while insurance fraud may be widespread, it's certainly not being ignored. Insurers are constantly working to thwart fraud through a wide variety of means -- including the 10 listed here -- and adjustors are quite adept at spotting suspicious claims. Submit a fraudulent one, and it may mean a hefty fine or the slammer for you.

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