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With so many people falling on hard times in this economy, some folks will do anything to earn a buck. That includes faking a car accident to make ends meet.
According to a recent report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), questionable claims (QC) resulting from staged accidents have increased 46 percent from 2007 through 2009. On a somewhat positive note, legitimate insurance claims have shrunken a bit, but this is only because there are fewer cars on the road, a by-product of fewer jobs.
What makes this type of crime so popular is that unless someone becomes suspicious, many of these staged accidents go undetected. Along with the fact that it’s a criminal offence and they defraud insurance companies out of millions of dollars (which in turn raises the premiums for the rest of us), staged accidents often involve innocent victims who are obeying the law, and can result in serious injury and death.
Florida takes the lead in all states with 3,006 QCs in 2009, with New York following in second with 1,680. Rounding out the top five are California (1,619), Texas (792) and Illinois (433). Out of the top offending cities, New York City leads the way, but Florida comes in strong with three offending cities (Tampa, 562; Miami, 511; and Orlando, 422). Houston closes out the list with 376 QCs.
The NICB has created a series of videos that get the message across by demonstrating some of the most common types of staged accidents. You can watch them at www.nicb.org.
Official release after the jump: