Crackdown on insurance fraud begins

July 13, 2009 10:48:41 AM PDT
Authorities say Houston is the insurance fraud capitol of Texas. The city is also one of the leaders in the nation when it comes to staged traffic accidents. That's why authorities are launching a major crackdown on insurance scams. Crime Stoppers is teaming up with investigative branch of the insurance industry to kick off a new initiative that encourages people to report insurance fraud.

Houston is number one in Texas for questionable insurance claims, as well as number one in staged accidents. We're number two in the country for vehicle owner 'give up' schemes.

When red flags go up for questionable insurance claims, those claims go to a central database to be investigated. Often times, they involve people who are part of highly organized rings, and those rings are very hard to break.

"These organized rings are very sophisticated and they've got to leave bread crumbs. That's why we're asking for the public's help," said Brent Walker with the Texas Association of Special Investigative Units. "Anyone who knows anything about organized insurance fraud or if your neighbor is committing a fraud of opportunity, we're asking the public to report these tips and help us help them by reducing insurance fraud."

Insurance companies as a whole lose around $80 billion per year due to insurance fraud. And with the economic slowdown, officials fear that the problem will only get worse.

If you know of anyone committing insurance fraud, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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