Social Media Investigation: A Useful Tool in Fighting Insurance Fraud

Over the past few years, the number of fraud insurance cases has grown significantly. According to reports, these fraud claims costs a whopping of $80 billion a year across all lines of insurance.

First, let’s take a quick look at a real-life example before we delve further into this issue. A man filed workers’ compensation claim stating that he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of the extremely stressful nature of his job. The worker claimed that due to this PTSD condition, he could neither work nor leave his house. His lawsuit claimed that his life would never be the same; however, the claims adjuster was skeptical about this case. This is where social media played a decisive role and changed the whole story. When the team of investigators looked at the social media sites of the plaintiff, it was found that he belonged to a sub-group on Facebook that was specifically for Uber drivers in his area. On further examining these groups, the team discovered that this man was posting about the best ways to travel and was giving advice about the optimum times and areas to work and more. These posts revealed that this terribly ill plaintiff was not only going out of the house but was also earning side revenue, which he hadn’t reported.

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This is just one example of thousands of insurance related fraud cases. Fraud claims, involving exaggerating a legitimate claim or fabricating a new one, has emerged as one of the greatest challenge faced by the insurance industry. As such, to save millions of dollars, it has become imperative for insurance companies to act smart. Therefore, it makes sense that insurance claims adjuster or the insurance company’s attorney heads start considering a thorough social media investigation.

The Influence of Social Media

According to Statista, around 77 percent of Americans have at least one social media profile. Social networking sites have changed the way people interact as people love to share and promote themselves and their own brand. This amount of information can be of immense use for investigators to find hidden truth and the other side of the story. Thus, in addition to interviewing the people involved, checking historical claims and disputes, previous convictions, financial records; accessing social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram of the plaintiff is equally important to disprove a false claim.

Detecting Insurance Fraud

The information shared by the person being investigated or his friends and family on social media platforms is used by forensic specialists and private investigators to prove or disprove a legal matter. The process involves gathering the basic facts, collecting photographs of the claimant, identifying witnesses, securing Web addresses, e-mails, and other Internet-based information that may assist the SIU. Here are three tips for successful social media discovery.

1. Make sure to start the investigation process early. This is because the person being investigated may delete posts or do something that limits access or even shut down the entire profile.

2. Professional investigators are equipped with the technology and have expertise that adjusters simply don’t have to defend clients in fraud cases. It is important to have a team of experienced, certified forensic professionals, licensed private investigators, technical specialists and licensed attorneys to ensure that the whole process goes in the right direction.

3. To get information from the internet you need the right investigative tools and eDiscovery technology that can crawl and capture content. All metadata should be preserved and the collected data should be automatically logged with hash values created, which authenticates the files and shows they have not been tampered with.

 

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