Please Remember, Insurance Fraud Is a Crime
Insurance fraud costs all of us in the form of higher auto insurance premiums.
It is an offence under the federal Criminal Code for anyone, by deceit, falsehood, or other dishonest act, to defraud or to attempt to defraud an insurance company.
If you are caught committing or attempting to commit insurance fraud:
- Your claim will be denied.
- Your insurance policy may be cancelled outright.
- You may pay higher premiums in the future.
- You may be denied insurance in the future.
- More importantly, the offence is punishable, on conviction, by a maximum of 14 years' imprisonment for cases involving an amount over $5,000 or otherwise a maximum of 2 years' imprisonment.
Common types of fraud or attempted fraud may include:
- lying about the way a loss occurred,
- filing fraudulent automobile accident or damage claims,
- including previously existing damage to a vehicle when submitting a claim,
- withholding information about past accidents, traffic convictions, claims, policy cancellations or non-renewals, other insurance in force, and medical and disability history, and
- receiving payments for treatments not received.
What Can People Do to Help Fight Fraud?
Insurance companies, regulators, and law enforcement officers are making great efforts to fight fraud at all levels, but their efforts alone cannot solve the fraud problem.
You can play a vital role in combating automobile insurance fraud by:
- reading your insurance policy. Your policy provides specific details about your insurance coverages, your rights, and your responsibilities under the contract,
- reporting all accidents and losses,
- checking over what you've filled out on your auto insurance application or claims forms to make sure you haven't made any mistakes,
- never signing blank insurance claims forms,
- keeping records. Get the names, addresses, phone numbers, licence plate and driver's licence numbers, and insurance information from all those involved in an accident,
- demanding detailed repair and medical bills, and carefully reviewing them to make sure you received all goods and services you were billed for, and
- reviewing benefit payment information from your insurance company to confirm that treatments, medical providers, and dates are accurately listed.
If you suspect that you may be a victim or target of a scam or fraud, you can help put an end to the scam or fraud by reporting it.
As a first step, report the matter to police. You can also make a report to FSCO’s Fraud Hotline. Go to www.fsco.gov.on.ca/TipNow or call 1-855-5TIP-NOW. Tips to FSCO’s Fraud Hotline can be anonymous.
You can also submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers (1-800-222-TIPS).
If you want legal advice, the Law Society of Upper Canada has services to help you find a legal professional.
In addition to the police, there are a number of other organizations that you can contact for help.
Learn about common types of auto insurance fraud and the resulting penalties:
- Don't Get Scammed Buying Auto Insurance: a comprehensive brochure that can help you guard against potential scams.
- Tips for Avoiding Tow Truck Scams: Find out how scams work, what you can do and who to contact if you suspect fraud.
- Staged Auto Accidents: Fraudsters can deliberately stage collisions to make insurance claims.
Watch the following videos for information on how to protect yourself from fraud in the event of an auto accident:
- Protect Yourself - Collect Evidence at the Scene of a Collision
- Protect Yourself - Know How to Report a Collision
- Protect Yourself - 4 Tips to Help You Choose a Towing Service
- Do You Know What To Do After an Auto Accident?
- Don't Get Scammed Buying Auto Insurance
- Be Vigilant - Insurance Fraud Costs Us All
The following infographics provide excellent tips on how to protect yourself from getting scammed when buying auto insurance:
Suspect auto insurance fraud? Submit an anonymous tip now.