The total cost of insurance fraud (non-health insurance) is estimated to be more than $40 billion per year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations. That means insurance fraud costs the average U.S. family between $400 and $700 per year in the form of increased premiums.
There are many types of insurance fraud -- including automobile insurance fraud, workers’ compensation claimant insurance fraud, workers’ compensation premium evasion insurance fraud, property insurance fraud, provider fraud and more. It’s a good time to become a private investigator, as insurance fraud has become a major problem in the United States.
Just as there are different types of fraud and fraud-related crimes, there are also different types of fraud investigations. Insurance fraud investigations, for example, work to uncover those who have made false claims to get insurance money. On the other hand, workers’ compensation investigations are initiated to uncover employees who have attempted to falsely claim compensation for injuries that do not exist.
Fraud investigations can be challenging for several reasons. First, criminals are skilled in their craft and will make extra effort to conceal their crimes. Secondly, in order for an investigation to be useful in a legal case, an investigator must be able to prove that fraud was intended. Only a qualified investigator can successfully complete these facets of a fraud investigation. Therefore, it’s important the private investigator has the right training and education to complete the investigation successfully.
Before an investigation begins, the investigator should first work to gather all facts from the client. During an initial meeting, the person launching the investigation should explain why they suspect fraud has taken place. At this time, they may also hand over evidence to the investigator. This information will be used for further research. Surveillance, asset searches, background checks and other types of investigative methods may also be used to complete the investigation.
As always, it’s important the PI ensures his or her investigations are pursued in a legal, ethical and professional manner. If you’re interested in becoming a private investigator, or would like to continue your education in the field, we invite you to enroll in NITA’s online training courses for investigators.