The New Jersey Acting Attorney General's Office and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor have teamed up to launch "Fight Fraud: It's a Crime," a campaign urging residents to be on alert for, and report insurance fraud in the state.

New Jersey Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Tracy Thompson said the goal of the campaign is to educate, empower, and encourage New Jerseyans to report insurance fraud and to become familiar with common insurance fraud schemes.

Additionally, the state wants to make the public aware that insurance fraud is a crime. She said far too often, people think it is acceptable to pad or falsely embellish or create fraudulent insurance claims. But it is a crime and people can suffer criminal penalties.

"We want to encourage the public to protect themselves and each other by reporting fraud. We hope that people get the message that such conduct will be prosecuted as a crime and once we foster this awareness, it should dissuade and deter people from committing insurance fraud generally," Thompson said.

The campaign has been called both a "warning" and a "call-to-action." Thompson said the warning is simply: "Don't commit insurance fraud." The "call-to-action" is for the public to report insurance fraud when they see it in order for offenders to be prosecuted.

Insurance fraud takes on many forms from property damage scams to fake COVID-19 related health claims fraud. "Criminals are finding new ways all the time to impact our residents' wallets," she said.

The campaign is also focused on voluntary give-ups of a person's car because he or she is drowning in debt, billing for services not rendered and other contractor-related fraud. But Thompson said the campaign is aimed at all forms of insurance fraud from inflating damage or theft claim, rate evasion or reverse rate evasion and false injury claims to name a few.

Thompson said in New Jersey, it costs millions and millions of dollars not only to fight fraud but also the losses that are suffered by victims, as well as the impact it has on the insurance industry and insurance providers.

According to the FBI, non-health insurance fraud is a $40 billion-a-year criminal enterprise and costs the average American family between $400 and $700 per year in increased insurance premiums. Thompson said in New Jersey, those numbers are likely higher since it is such an expensive state.

People can report insurance fraud anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD or visiting the website at http://www.NJInsuranceFraud.org. 

Those reporting insurance fraud scams could be eligible for a reward of up to $25,000.

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