Insurance Fraud Investigators Are Now On Facebook
Websites like Facebook, Linkedin and YouTube are becoming increasingly popular - with insurance fraud investigators.
Roger Morris, the Vice President and Chief Communications officer with the National Insurance Crime Bureau says "many of our investigators and our data analysts will use these tools just like they would use a rolodex and newspaper and a phone book 15 years ago -staying on top of the new technologies and understanding them and how they work helps us keep up with at least some of the criminals who are very sophisticated and who always seem to be one step ahead of the game."
He says these social media sites are used "to look for information on groups- particularly organized criminal rings that may involved in something that we are investigating -and these tools, Facebook, Linkedin and so forth - that people put public information out there-it's just another way of trying to determine who's friending who, who's tweeting who, and are these groups that may look very diverse and unconnected- are they connected- and is someone involved with someone who may be involved in a criminal event?
Morris adds "many of our folks are former FBI agents- they've been doing this type of work for years, and we have data analysts who specifically use all kinds of tools to build up information so our investigators can look at it further."
He stresses "everything we do is above board, it's all public information: we don't deceive anybody or try to friend anybody- we don't pretext anybody…these websites, we strictly use them in a legal, ethical manner, so if people are posting information out there, that's their decision to post it, and as long as it's public information, it's just like anything else you can get off the internet."
Morris also points out instead of going after individuals, they're focused on "usually organized rings that are defrauding insurance companies and policy-holders out of usually millions of dollars -these are very sophisticated groups that may be committing medical fraud, or committing staged accidents or cargo theft…we're not looking at individuals that may be saying - well I had a set of golf clubs- well I didn't really have a set of golf clubs in the trunk, but I'm going to claim them on my car policy anyway - saying that they were stolen."
He says if people suspect an insurance fraud situation may be going on, "they can call us at 1- 800- tel-nicb- that's our hotline - or they can they text their tips to us at tip-411-keyword fraud - or they can go to our website, and www-dot-nicb-dot-org."