The Fraud Examiner

8 Scams to Watch Out For in 2016

8 Scams to Watch Out For in 2016

By Brian Tenzer, Esq. & Zasha Rodriguez, Esq., Goldstein Law Group

November 2015

Unfortunately, fraud is a year-round threat. Although we need to remain vigilant at all times, International Fraud Awareness Week (November 15-21) serves as a good reminder of just how damaging these crimes can be.

At Goldstein Law Group, we focus on staged auto accident and property insurance fraud. While these crimes continue to grow in sophistication and scope, affecting more and more victims, they’re not the only fraudulent schemes around. For 2016, we’ve identified eight frauds that people are likely to encounter.

  1. Disaster mitigation can be a lucrative business. Once there were just a few fire & water mitigation companies, but now there are scores. Lack of oversight makes it easy for unscrupulous companies to take advantage of disasters. Some inflate estimates by up to 500 percent, use unnecessary equipment or claim damage is more widespread than it is. Many also convince insureds they can get quicker action if benefits are assigned to them, enabling them to bill carriers directly. When inflated claims are paid, consumers ultimately pay the price through increased premiums. 
  2. Straw ownership continues as a top fraud. Because medical clinics must be licensed to physicians, straw ownership essentially involves a doctor falsely acting as a clinic’s owner so the true owner can avoid state licensing and monitoring. Many times, these “straw” clinics are a front for money laundering or other criminal activities. Since the intent of these clinics is to make money rather than legitimately treat patients, insurance companies often are over-billed for services never rendered. Even worse, real patients may not receive the medical care they need. 
  3. Credit repair fraudsters typically seek out individuals with lots of debt. You’ve likely seen pop-up ads online promising to fix your credit or erase your debt. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that many of them charge a fee but basically don’t do anything for you. In fact, some may sell your social security number, leading to big problems. Legitimate credit repair services are available that cost little or nothing. 

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