Fraudulent Insurance Cards
Although South Florida is famous for its beaches, its sports franchises, its culture, year-round balmy weather, a plethora tourist resorts and glitzy nightlife, it’s also infamous for its darker side: drug smuggling, rampant political corruption and, increasingly, auto insurance-related scams.
Due to the explosive growth of the area’s population over the past 30 years, law enforcement agents in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties have witnessed many fraudulent practices, including the filing of false auto theft cases, staged car accidents, and self-inflicting damage to automobiles to get payments from auto insurance companies.
The latest scam, however, alarms police agencies and insurance companies because it’s not easy to detect or to deter: over the past few months, law enforcement agencies in the region have noticed an uptick in the use of fake auto insurance cards which are difficult to tell apart from genuine cards issued by Allstate, Geico, State Farm and other auto insurers.
According to Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Boris, false auto insurance cards are hard to differentiate from the genuine article. “If someone was to take this card and it was fraudulent how easy would it be to take that off and add an 11 or a 12 and we would never know, this is just a piece of paper,” Deputy Boris said.
The perpetrators of this new scam don’t need much in the way of special tools or hard-to-get materials. There are websites where a scammer can simply download a template for a fake insurance card, copy it to a computer’s hard drive, then print it out. The site owners try to skirt the law by placing disclaimers stating that they do not support any illegal activities, a trick once used by Prohibition-era alcoholic beverage companies when they sold the ingredients to brew beer or make wine and placed “DO NOT FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO MAKE BEER AT HOME” disclaimers on product labels.
To combat this new tactic by auto insurance scammers, local police agencies are joining forces with insurers. The two sides share information and meet on a regular basis, and police officers who carry out sting operations to catch scammers can call the insurance companies to check if a card is valid or not.
If you are interested in how to protect yourself from auto insurance fraud in the state of Florida, you can visit the official website of the Department of Financial Services’ insurance fraud division. More auto insurance-related information can be found at the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles official website.