Common insurance scam costs you more money every year - CBS46 News

Common insurance scam costs you more money every year

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

If you're one of the millions who commute in Atlanta every day, you're at risk.

"I asked if everyone was OK, and they all had a different ailment. It was, 'My neck, my knee, my eye,'" said a woman who asked not to be identified. She got tangled in a common insurance scam.

"I was stopped at a stop sign and a car was going to turn left in front of me. So, she waved me on and as I was turning, she hit the back of my car," she said.

It's a crime you could easily fall victim to, especially if you're traveling this summer.

"Florida and New York have been very much problem states for auto insurance fraud or staged accidents, and particularly in urban areas like Atlanta where we have so much traffic," said Bill Davis with the Insurance Information Institute.

Questionable claims in Georgia have risen steadily for the last three years, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

They cost the insurance industry billions of dollars every year and it trickles down to our wallets, too.

In New York City alone, officials estimate that fake auto claims add $241 million to premiums.

"We all pay more because people are trying to use auto insurance as a way to make money," said Davis.

One of the most common types of staged crashes is the "swoop and squat." It's also known as a forced-rear ending and distracted drivers make especially easy targets.

In most rear-endings, the driver in back is at fault and beyond the collision claim, scammers often double their payday by claiming injuries as well.

"I knew they weren't telling the truth. There was no way they could have injured themselves in the way they were describing just by a little bump to my car," the woman said.

"If you suspect that something is not right about this accident, in other words someone coming forward to corroborate everything the other driver says about what happened, or people showing up, getting out of the car saying they were injured, and you can tell though that the car just had minor damage, then report that to your insurance company," Davis said.

Other tactics include the forced side swipe and intentional T-bone. And be extra careful in parking lots, where scammers could be waiting to strike as you back out.

Unfortunately, these are not easy scams to avoid, but what you can do is take pictures and video after an accident. Document exactly who was there and their condition after the crash. And as you're exchanging information with the other driver, only trade names, phone numbers and insurance information. Don't give them your Social Security number. And always call police, no matter how minor the accident may seem.

Click here for video demonstrations of the most common staged crashes.

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