TORONTO, Feb. 27, 2014 /CNW/ - Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is
taking an active role in the February 27 official kick-off of Don't Be Scammed: Fraud Prevention Month 2014, as it joins forces with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario,
Toronto Police Services and other organizations involved with fraud
The launch will take place at a Toronto area school tonight between 6
p.m. and 9 p.m. and consist of live-streamed presentations by all
participants to alert Canadians on how they can protect themselves
against different types of fraud. The public is encouraged to watch
the social media outreach online and to follow the #Don'tBeScammed
hashtag starting today at 6pm to obtain the live-stream link and to
interact with event participants.
Other participants in Don't Be Scammed include the Bank of Canada, Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canadian Health
Care Anti-fraud Association, Competition Bureau, Crime Prevention
Association of Toronto, Financial Services Commission of Ontario,
Investigation Counsel, Investor Education Fund, Mutual Fund Dealers
Association of Canada, National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly,
Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services, Ontario Securities Commission,
Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Real Estate Council of Ontario, Toronto
Catholic District School Board, Toronto Parks and Recreation, Toronto
Police Service and Victim Services Toronto.
The serious issue of insurance fraud will be tackled in a presentation
by Kathy Metzger, Investigator, Ontario Injury Rings Unit, IBC
Investigative Services, and will zero in on the involvement of
organized crime groups in staged collisions and fraudulent medical
clinics and other service providers.
Later, IBC will host an online breakout session "Fraud: Amplifying a
silent noise on social media" (7.30pm - 8:30pm.) The session will
inform interested members of the public about how to find information
about insurance fraud, resources currently available to better educate
yourself about fraudulent activity (including ibc.ca, Twitter and
Facebook), the process for reporting suspected incidents, as well as
tips on how to protect you from becoming a victim.
Insurance fraud is a huge problem in Canada. In 2012, the Ontario
Automobile Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force cited a study that estimated
that automobile insurance fraud cost between $770 million to $1.6
billion per year - in Ontario alone. Insurance claims are paid for
from the premiums of the many. "Fraud is a crime of deception, says Ms
Metzger. "Fraudulent claims are made to look like real claims, and
when they are undetected, they are paid as real claims. Paid for from
the premiums that you and I fund - and a key reason why honest
policyholders pay more than they should for auto insurance," she adds.
IBC Investigative Services works with and on behalf of its member
companies to investigate the involvement of organized crime groups in
insurance fraud. In her presentation, Ms Metzger will explain that
these groups look at fraud as a business, often planning staged
collisions or having ownership or interest in service-providing
companies that could profit from false insurance claims. These could
include body shops, tow truck companies, legal representative firms,
health clinics, assessment centres and other service providers alleging
to provide housekeeping, care giving or attendant care services. The
organized crime groups make a profit from each one of those areas.
Ms Metzger also makes reference to several examples of insurance fraud.
There's opportunistic fraud when a person makes exaggerated claims.
For example, someone who was involved in a motor vehicle collision and
claims to be injured when they are not. A person continuing to work
while claiming accident disability benefits. Or someone who has had
their car broken into and some minor things stolen, but when they make
their claim to the insurance company, they claim for larger, more
expensive items; such as a laptop, or golf clubs. "These exaggerated
claims are considered fraud and are definitely part of the problem,"
says Ms Metzger. "But the issue we're facing is far more than that."
She will then delve into the very serious issue of insurance fraud by
unscrupulous medical clinics. Here's how one scam might work: A
person injured in a motor vehicle accident would walk into a clinic and
be seen by someone purporting to be a health professional. He or she
is assessed and told that they would benefit from treatment. They are
asked to sign incomplete or blank forms after being told that it would
save time if the clinic completed them later. The person may be asked
to sign a sign-in sheet, but may be told that it will save time on
future visits if they sign for days in advance of attendance. The
person continues to go for treatment until they feel better, and then
they stop. However, the health clinic, having the person's name and
signature on blank forms, continues to submit requests for additional
treatment and assessments to their insurance company.
"Fraud is a serious offense that affects us all," says Ms Metzger. "By
being aware that it is there and we could all become a victim, is the
first step to preventing or reducing fraud from occurring. By working
together - the industry, the consumers, and the government - we may be
able to make it more difficult for organized groups to make us
victims." She urges Canadians to take the time to report insurance
crime if they suspect it is taking place. They can call IBC's
confidential 1-877-IBC-TIPS or go on-line at www.ibc.ca and follow the links. Or they can contact Crime Stoppers.
Tips to protect you from becoming a victim of insurance fraud in a
If you are injured in a collision, see your family doctor. Involve them
in your recovery.
When you do attend a clinic - ask for the credentials of the person
treating you. Often they are posted - make sure you check them, and if
you can't find them, ask to see them. You may want to check on-line or
with the Professional College, for a status of the provider.
Never sign blank forms or blank sign-in sheets.
Ask your insurance adjuster for a summary of the amount paid on your
claim on a regular basis.
Keep your own records as to what treatment you receive from whom and
Be actively involved in your claim and aware of what is being claimed
and paid for by you and all payers.
About Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC)
IBC is pleased to celebrate 50 years as a valuable resource for
insurance information. Since 1964, IBC has worked with governments
across Canada to make our communities safer, championing issues that
directly affect Canadians and the property and casualty (P&C) insurance
industry. IBC is the national industry association representing
Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies
represent 90% of the P&C insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance
industry employs over 118,600 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in
taxes and levies to the federal, provincial and municipal governments,
and has a total premium base of $46 billion.
To view media releases and other information, visit the media section of
IBC's website at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook.
If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to
discuss the details in this media release.
SOURCE: Insurance Bureau of Canada
For further information:
To schedule an interview, please contact:
Director, Media Relations
Insurance Bureau of Canada
416-362-2031 ext. 4387