The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, part of the City of London Police, have arrested six people and interviewed a further 42 people as part of a nationwide clampdown on fraudulent household insurance claims this week.
Officers visited 26 police force areas as 43 officers targeted fraudulent insurance claims that cost every policy holder £50 in their annual premium in a three day national operation.
Of the cases targeted today the total claim made against the insurance industry if they had paid out the funds would have been £360,000.
The arrests and interviews were made across the country including in Cleveland, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Birmingham, London, Cumbria, Anglesey, Kent, Essex, Cardiff, Bristol and Brighton.
In a Sunderland case a 43 year old man was arrested on suspicion of Fraud by False Representation after making a £10k claim for a Tiffany ring lost whilst being taken to be polished.
The claim fell apart when it became apparent that the man’s ex-partner still had the ring and told the insurers this after noticing paperwork for the claim.
Frequently fraudsters are providing images of lost items taken after the items were alleged to have been stolen.
A 26 year old woman was arrested in Rainhill, Merseyside on suspicion of Fraud by False Representation after she made a claim for a wedding ring lost on the 23 February. The evidence she supplied to back up her claim showed an image of the ring.
When the metadata on the image was checked it was found to have been taken on the 24 February, the day after the alleged loss.
Metadata can be used to identify the date an image is taken and also highlight what device took the image e.g. phone or tablet.
Other types of fraudulent claims include those were receipts and invoices are doctored and forged.
A 34 year old man and a 30 year old woman were arrested in Staines, Surrey on suspicion of Fraud buy False Representation after making a claim for £45k for a water leak that had caused damage to kitchen and flooring from a faulty boiler.
The invoices provided were found to come from a company that had ceased trading in 2009, six years before the leak happened.
Additionally, images of the damage caused by the leak were found to be taken before the date of the leak.
Det Ch Insp Angie Roger’s, Head of IFED said “Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime and costs every policy holder £50 each year.
“If people think they can get away with exaggerating or making false claims they should know that the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department have dealt with 1200 fraudsters since we began in 2011.
“Those caught making false claims will be dealt with, and were appropriate will be put in front of the courts and sent to jail.
Mark Allen, Manager, Fraud and Financial Crime Manager for the Association of British Insurers, said:
“This concerted nationwide action led by IFED demonstrates how the insurance industry is determined to protect its honest policyholders by taking decisive action to identify and enforce against fraudsters. The risks associated with committing insurance fraud are simply not worth it. You’re now more likely than ever to get caught and suffer severe and long-lasting consequences.”