Four Virginia residents recently discovered that it pays to have a sharp eye for suspected insurance fraud.
According to a spokesman for the Insurance Fraud Program of the Virginia State Police, the first rewards for reporting suspected insurance fraud were paid during April. The Sharp Eye Reward Fund pays up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest of people who commit insurance fraud in Virginia. The amounts of the rewards ranged from $500 to $5,000. The types of insurance fraud reported to state police included arson, workers’ compensation, a slip-and-fall scheme and the filing of a false accident claim. To protect the anonymity of the tipsters, further information about the cases is being withheld. “Virginians are ultimately the winners because these citizens were willing to come forward and report what they thought were fraudulent insurance claims,” said Lt. W. Roger Rector, coordinator for the Insurance Fraud Program said.
“Insurance fraud costs all of the citizens of Virginia. Not only do Virginians pay higher premiums, but they also pay more for their everyday purchases and services when businesses have to pass along their increased costs to their customers.” When anyone tries to make money from insurance transactions by deception, that is insurance fraud, and according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, it’s the second most costly white collar crime, behind tax evasion. It’s been estimated that insurance fraud costs the U.S. nearly $85 billion a year. In Virginia, it’s projected that fraud adds an additional $200 a year to insurance premiums and costs Virginians more than $1,000 a year in increased costs of goods and services.
To report suspected insurance fraud, residents can call the Insurance Fraud Hot Line at (877) 623-7283) or visit http://www.stampoutfraud.com . To be eligible for a reward, callers should mention the reward fund. Tipsters can remain anonymous. Ineligible for the reward are insurance professionals, the perpetrator or co-perpetrator of the crime, the crime victim, and Virginia sworn law enforcement officers, jailers, corrections officers and members of their immediate family.
Only property and casualty lines of insurance will be considered.