A new swathe of insurance fraud targeting social media users has sparked a warning from police about ‘ghost brokers’ who have used the internet to trick consumers with fake policy documents online.
Action Fraud has reported several cases of unsuspecting consumers being caught out after fraudulent brokers used fake social media profiles to develop a new level of credibility.
James Seth-Smith, Head of Fraud Prevention and Corporate Security at Elite Insurance Company Limited, explained the increasing threat to insurers and consumers online:
“As technology has evolved and become more accessible to all, so too has the fraudsters’ ability to commit the crime. Businesses within the financial sector have had to react to this threat and the insurance industry, in particular, has invested a considerable amount of time and money in order to combat fraud.
“Technology is both an enemy and a friend to the consumer. Advances in technology has, for example, resulted in an explosion of phishing emails, but equally, advances in technology allow us to utilise Google to input the senders email address and within seconds find that the suspect email address has been used in other phishing email attacks.”
To keep up with the advancement of technology there has been a huge growth in terms of company spending, resources and company capabilities in fraud prevention and detection. The government and insurance industry, realising the need to set initiatives to tackle this problem have created numerous agencies and organisations like the NCA (National Crime Agency) IFED (Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department) and Action Fraud.
But this doesn’t prevent new fraudsters from being able to lure unsuspecting victims in.
In the case of the ghost brokers, fraudsters have used fake profiles to collect premium money online or purchase insurance on behalf of the victim, only to immediately cancel the policy and pocket any refunded insurance fees later on.
In order to keep ahead of new types of fraud, Elite’s Fraud Prevention and Corporate Security Department, has invested heavily in technology since the department was first created in 2013. Seth-Smith explains the ways Elite are combating the fraudsters:
“Elite staff members and our business partners have worked at the frontline of fraud prevention for many years by utilising our partners’ wealth of experience and resources as well as increasing our own training and awareness, installing processes and recognising fraud referral triggers. Elite has never been in a better place to combat the multitudes of fraud a company can face.
“Elite has to be proactive as much as possible. On occasions, we have to be reactive as this means that a fraud has been perpetrated and we strive trying to prevent it from happening again. The department ensures that all cases of fraud are investigated properly and in a timely manner, at the same time ensuring all bases have been covered by the use of tools and datasets, the experience of the department and its colleagues both within Elite, its business partners and the wider insurance industry.
“Elite has been very successful in its fight against fraud considering its one of the newest departments within the company. it’s unusual for the company’s size to have a dedicated fraud department and even more unusual that the department can deal with all types of fraud both internal and external.”
If you do have suspicions about a potential ghost broker online make sure you contact your insurer directly or check the FCA website to see if the brokers are authorised. Make sure you also report any suspicious activities to Action Fraud.
Any policy holders who wish to check a policy with Elite is current and legitimate should visit the Elite website and click on ‘Check Your Policy’. After submitting the form your request will go through to the Elite validations email address where your request will be actioned and responded to within 48hrs.