Lessons learned from ICBC's 2009 fraud files
The high cost of lying is the lesson for March's Fraud Prevention Month
VANCOUVER, March 9 /CNW/ - A driver crashes his car then claims it was stolen; an owner sets his car on fire then gets a bill from the Fire Department; and drivers, old and new, pay the price for not telling the truth. The high cost of lying is the lesson learned from these stories from ICBC's 2009 fraud files, which are released to coincide with March's Canadian Fraud Prevention Month.
"It was stolen before the crash" One owner called police to report a stolen car - two hours after it was involved in a crash. He told police it had been stolen two days earlier but he just now noticed it was missing. His story fell apart when ICBC's Special Investigation Unit (SIU) was able to confirm that he called a taxi minutes after the crash from a nearby location. He ended up pleading guilty to driving while disqualified, hit and run, public mischief and fraud and was ordered to pay almost $50,000 for the cost of damages. Another driver totalled his boss's truck then lied to police about it being stolen. End result: he was fined $4,000 because, as the judge said: "When someone abuses the insurance system, they are effectively defrauding their fellow citizens." "It was stolen before the fire" Two hours after his car was destroyed by fire, the owner called police to report it stolen. Evidence presented in court led to a confession that he had set fire to the car himself to collect the insurance. He was sentenced to 12 months probation, 100 hours of community service and was ordered to pay the Fire Department almost $1,000 to cover part of the cost of putting out the fire. "Yes, I'm the principal operator" A recent crash teaches us all a lesson about the importance of correctly answering the annual insurance renewal question: "Are you the principal operator?" Falsely declaring someone else as the principal operator saved one owner a few hundred dollars in premiums on a brand new vehicle, but it was totalled in a crash and now the owner is out of pocket about $50,000. Please check your policy to ensure you don't make the same costly mistake. "A learner learns the hard way" A young driver learned an expensive lesson about the perils of ignoring the requirements of the Graduated Licensing Program and then lying about it. Driving without an experienced driver over 25 in the car is not allowed for "Learners", but that was the case when the young driver crashed her father's car. To make matters worse, she lied about being alone. Witnesses told a different story which, resulted in a court- ordered payment of $26,000.
Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime; it costs each of ICBC's 3.1 million customers about $100 to $150 per year - that's why ICBC invests upwards of $8 million in fraud prevention each year.
ICBC investigated more than 2,800 cases of alleged fraud in 2009. ICBC takes all allegations seriously and follows up on all tips and information. The public can help by reporting suspicious, exaggerated or fraudulent claims to ICBC's fraud tips line at 604-661-6844 or 1-800-661-6844, toll free from anywhere in the province. Tip information is confidential and callers can remain anonymous.For further information: Media contacts: Mark Jan Vrem, (604) 982-2476