How car insurance conmen work and how to protect yourself

Conmen in general are smooth operators who are able to talk you out of your money without any form of threat. Insurance is not spared from conmen. Insurance conmen are sophisticated, bright, and strategic in their approach. Insurance is a technical field. Not many people understand the inner workings of an industry. Therefore, anyone that takes the time to understand how motor insurance works can use that knowledge to con a large portion of the ignorant public. Here is how a car insurance conman works.

1. He’ll profile you

Insurance conmen make their pick carefully. They look at the car you are driving, and may look at when your current insurance will expire. They will note your current car insurance provider and will find out the rates your car attracts in premiums. In other words, someone who intends to con you will take time to profile you in order to come up with a plan.

2. Show up at the “right” time

All conmen prey on desperation. Something about desperate people attracts conmen like flies to something rotten.  A sure way of becoming desperate is waiting too long before renewing your car insurance. If you become desperate to get insurance, you become more vulnerable to insurance fraud. Check out car insurance quotes (we have a free service that can help you compare insurance quotes) early.

3. Slow things down

Most conmen will have an urgent call to action. Usually if you are given sufficient time, you will be able to detect an ongoing fraud. Conmen are aware of this. They will try to make you move to a decision quickly before you can think through your suspicions. Consider this, you meet a neatly dressed man who claims to be a sales rep or a section head in one of the major insurance companies. He claims to have a few slots to get you a motor insurance policy, a comprehensive one, at say 80% of the normal cost. He even has the stickers for some clients with him, which he shows you. However, this offer expires today or tomorrow morning at 10 am. If you were actually looking for insurance at the time, this can sound very attractive.

4. He’ll bait you

Then comes the bait. He will present you with an opportunity to get you a deal of your lifetime. It could be a limited edition insurance product, a special waiver because of his connection, or a special offer based on something like the celebration of a certain milestone (say 50th anniversary) in the insurance company. The bait usually works if you are desperate enough, or if you are completely taken by his confidence trick. Imagine what it is like for you to be interacting with an MD of a company that can bring you business, offer you a job, or connect you to a client you really want to land. Once you take the bait, the con is on.

5. Verify all the credentials you receive from an Insurance Representative

Learn to verify the credentials of anyone you meet from an insurance company.  A business card is not enough. All one needs to print business cards is access to a computer, a printer, the correct type of paper, and a few minutes. You can get all these in any cyber cafe for the price of a loaf of bread. If you are dealing with an insurance fraudster, he will present you with a nice looking business card. Verify someone’s credentials by calling the office line (not the one on the business card you took!) and ask to speak to the person. You can also Google the person’s name and see what it brings up.

6. Beware of zeal to present “Proof of authenticity”

One of the most effective tactics used by conmen is the presentation of proof of authenticity. Every insurance fraud perpetrator wants to convince you he is the real deal. He will therefore present you with proofs of authenticity, at times too many of them. Beware of someone working too hard (could be in a very subtle way) to convince you they are the real deal. One particularly effective tactic is a fake call to either a client or colleague discussing something that verifies this person’s credentials. You may also find someone discussing car insurance with your contact that then leaves you two to discuss your insurance needs. Someone might show you a business card or a work id, or may have documents displayed prominently that have the company’s branding. Presented with this much evidence, many people do not even consider the thought that they might be dealing with a conman

7. Insist on following the Procedure

One of the dead giveaways of an insurance con-job is when the con artist encourages you to ditch procedure, or claims he can get you certain favours, usually outside of the warranted procedure. Find out from friends how they have received similar services and question the rep on why you are skipping procedure. If you are supposed to send money to a mobile money platform, do not send money to a personal number. Once you have the paybill number, verify who owns it before you make any transactions. If you like shortcuts, you will be vulnerable to conmen.

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