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The crime of insurance fraud affects all Virginians – not only increasing the amount of premiums paid, but also the costs of everyday purchases of good and services.
Recognizing the impact the crime of insurance fraud has on the citizens of Virginia as well as the efforts of the Virginia State Police Insurance Fraud Program (IFP) to “stamp out fraud,” Governor Robert F. McDonnell proclaimed the first week of May as “Insurance Fraud Awareness Week” in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
“Insurance Fraud Awareness Week” is an annual event designed to raise community awareness about insurance fraud, create more widespread public knowledge of the IFP and its purpose, and educate Virginia citizens in the prevention and reporting of insurance fraud. Insurance fraud comes in many forms and can be committed by anyone – by professional fraudsters and criminals, by policyholders who submit fake or exaggerated claims, or by the insurance professional who doesn’t do what the unwary policyholder is expecting.
Ranked second behind tax evasion as the most common and costly white-collar crime in the United States, insurance fraud costs the economy more than $80 billion a year according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. In Virginia , citizens may pay between $200 and $1,000 per year in additional insurance premiums and as much as $1,000 more each year for the cost of goods and services due to the negative economic impact of fraudulent insurance claims.
“Virginia has made great strides in the statewide fight against insurance fraud,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “This has been possible due to the outstanding support of the insurance industry, the cooperation of other law enforcement agencies, and the general public’s willingness to become involved.”
Since 1999, when the IFP was established as a unit in the Department of State Police, more than 17,000 suspected incidences of insurance fraud have been reported to the IFP, resulting in more than 1,900 arrests and $14 million in court-ordered restitution. The dollar amount of these suspected false insurance claims surpassed $121 million.
The Virginia State Police is committed to “Stamp Out” insurance fraud occurring in the Commonwealth. If citizens have knowledge of a fraudulent insurance scheme or suspect they may have been the victim of insurance fraud, they are encouraged to report the activity to the Virginia State Police Insurance Fraud Program on the toll-free hotline at 1-877-62FRAUD (1-877-623-7283).
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