A Canadian corporation is busting insurance fraud with social media


The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is making extensive use of social media to find people who have made fraudulent insurance claims.

Last month, Digital Journal reported the ICBC’s top insurance frauds of 2015 or its 2015 Hall of Shame.

These consisted of false or exaggerated claims as well as staged motor vehicle accidents.

Although some were quite humorous, the ICBC pointed out the cost of these fraudulent claims are paid for by all those in the province who have insurance.

Yesterday the ICBC released its 2015 Cyber Hall of Shame. The corporation makes extensive use of social media in tracking those who have made large or suspicious claims. The ICBC noted how some who claim to be seriously injured cannot resist bragging on social media about what they are able to do despite their debilitating injuries.

One woman, a hairdresser, claimed she was so severely injured she could not return to work. But on Twitter and Facebook, she not only revealed she went running and hiking but she had joined a roller derby team.

Described as a rising star in the sport, she portrayed herself as a “hard-hitter” who received a lot of injuries on the roller rink. When confronted with this, she settled her claim for about half of what she was originally seeking.

A Kamloops man called police and said his truck that was in perfect working order had been set on fire by vandals. Investigators confirmed the truck had indeed been torched but cyber investigators found the man had been trying to sell his truck on Craigslist. His reason for the sale; the truck badly needed repairs he could not afford. The man’s claim was denied.

A man in the Lower Mainland was involved in an accident and claimed he was so badly injured he could not return to his desk job.

Investigators looked on social media and found the man finishing a 12-mile obstacle race. There was also a video of him taking down another man at a mixed martial arts facility. When confronted with this, the man quickly settled his claim saying he had quickly recovered from his injuries. It was a miracle.

A woman who was hit by a motorcycle while crossing at a crosswalk sued the ICBC for $1 million. At trial, a lot of contradictory evidence was presented including social media posts. The judge awarded her only $20,000 but she was required to pay $34,000 towards ICBC’s legal costs.

The ICBC has stepped up its fraud detection by having the Special Investigations Unit spend more time online. During 2015, 2,350 cyber cases were opened and more time is being spent training staff in fraud detection. Later this year, the ICBC plans to purchase special software that will allow fraud to be detected earlier and more easily.

It is estimated every insured in the province pays about $100 a year to compensate the corporation for the amount lost to fraud.

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