SGI released some of their top scams of 2022, detailing some of the efforts by customers to tweak the facts around some of the claims and reports they've received.
Scam # 1 - Heist hoax
A customer reported their vehicle missing, claiming the vehicle had been parked in front of their house with a spare key locked inside.
One hour after the vehicle was reported missing, police found it a short walk from his house, on the front lawn of someone else’s property. It had collided into a nearby parked vehicle and a tree. the customer then filed a theft and collision claim with SGI, while another customer filed a claim for the parked vehicle, and property damage was also submitted.
SIU found security footage that showed the subject vehicle travelled at a high rate of speed, lost control, and collided with a parked vehicle, then the tree. The footage shows a person matching the original customer's description walking away from the vehicle and locking it with a fob. The customer confessed to causing the collision following a celebration - saying he should not have been driving.
They were on the hook for $50,000 in vehicle and property damage.
Scam #2 - Rollback rip-off
A customer submitted a claim saying they drove their truck through a “dip with standing water,” which caused the engine to quit. The truck needed a costly engine repair or replacement. SIU found that, during the investigation, the vehicle’s odometer had somehow been rolled back. Investigators discovered that the customer had rolled back the truck’s odometer to show 150,000 fewer kilometres than what should have been on the engine, in order to increase the value of the truck.
The customer withdrew their claim after being confronted with the SIU findings – saving SGI $7,000.
Scam #3 - Turnoff tales
A customer told SGI they and their girlfriend were travelling around 55 km/hr through foggy conditions in the early morning hours when they missed a turnoff and hit an abandoned vehicle on the shoulder of the highway. The customer said they panicked and walked to a nearby house for help, rather than calling the police.
The residents of the home reported to police that the couple said they did not want police to know about the collision.
Police visited the collision site and saw several concerning items inside the vehicle, including drug paraphernalia. Additionally, there was no evidence of fog that morning and no nearby turnoff that the driver could have missed. SIU discovered the vehicle was travelling at double the reported speed, and additional witnesses claimed both occupants were very intoxicated. SIU found the customer's account of the incident was unreliable and vague.
Their claim was denied for misrepresentation and saved SGI $40,000.
Scam #4 - Deer dupe
A customer filed a claim stating they hit a deer and left their vehicle at the roadside. They said when they came back to the vehicle, it had been completely burned.
SIU contacted a witness who saw two people remove belongings from the vehicle before the vehicle went up in flames a short time later. SIU discovered the vehicle was not registered at the time of the collision – and registration had been purchased by the customer less than an hour after the crash. SIU believes they also returned to set the vehicle on fire in order to receive a payout.
The claim was denied, saving SGI $5,000
Scam #5 - Sleeping scam
One customer filed a claim with SGI, stating they fell asleep while driving and collided with a parked vehicle. The customer admitted to significant financial hardship and had recently spoken with a bailiff about repossession of their high valued SUV the day before the collision.
SIU conducted several interviews to confirm the customer was in financial trouble. It was discovered they had lied to her bank about being able to make her delinquent payments in order to “buy them some time.” Crash data retrieval evidence showed the vehicle was fully idle five seconds before the collision. That evidence showed that this was followed by a fast depression of the gas pedal, which sent the vehicle propelling forward, with a peak speed of 31 km/h upon impact. SIU believes the customer caused the collision intentionally to avoid having the vehicle repossessed.
Total savings? $63,000.
SGI says that when making insurance claims, the important thing to do is always be honest about the incident.
Anyone with information about potential insurance fraud is encouraged to contact SGI's Special Investigation Unit at email@example.com or 1-800-667-8015, ext. 6887.