Stupid thing insurance scammer missed
An insurance claims company has revealed how it exposed a shady traveller who tried - but dismally failed - to pull off a $9000 insurance scam after a holiday.
The traveller, from Queensland, submitted a claim for thousands of dollars' worth of electrical items he said were stolen during a trip to Uganda.
He told his insurer he was standing on the street waiting for his Uber when a man tried to snatch his phone - and during the commotion, a second thief showed up and stole his bag, which contained his MacBook Pro and iPad Pro.
The traveller submitted a receipt for his stolen items, which he said had a combined value of $9000.
But a claims consultant for the company that handled the man's case said the receipt raised suspicions.
"The receipt stated that the items were purchased from a well-known electronics store in Oxley, Queensland - a store some 20 kilometres from the customer's home," the consultant, who did not wish to be named, told news.com.au.
"While it's no smoking gun, there are four branches of that same store located closer to the customer's address which seemed a little suspicious. Still, if there was something underhanded going on here, we needed more information."
The claims team then further probed the barcode printed on the receipt.
"The receipt brought up different sale items with the retail outlet than those listed on the receipt provided to us," he said.
"Once armed with this information, we were able to outline the discrepancies to the customer who went on to withdraw his claim, stating that local authorities in Uganda had miraculously managed to recover his items using CCTV."
Comparetravelinsurance.com.au director Natalie Ball said even legit-looking fake receipts could be easily exposed as fakes.
"Very often, fake receipts can look like the real thing," she said. "But through our extended networks and resources, we can ultimately stop a fraudster in their tracks.
Ms Ball said insurers were taking advantage of technological advancements and new analytic tools that helped them sniff out dodgy claims.
"Increased system automation that detects anomalous information and checks verifiable data, used in tandem with the knowledge of claims handlers and expert fraud investigators is aiding insurers to quickly identify fraudulent claims," she said.
Ms Ball said insurance fraud wasn't a victimless crime - the high costs associated with stamping out fraud led to honest policyholders paying higher premiums.
"It's all well and good identifying fraudsters, but there needs to be a shift towards the perception of insurance fraud being a victimless crime," she said.
"Falsifying information to your travel insurer is an indictable offence. While prosecutions can be costly for companies, improved collaboration between insurers, retail outlets and the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Australia has been instrumental in reducing fraud.
"More action is being taken to stop fraudsters, whether they are one-off offenders or professional criminals."