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Scam alertDue to increasing insurance paranoia and invesigative skills the disability insurance environment has taken giant leaps into the world of deception, lies and more drama than you can imagine. Twice in the same week DCS, Inc. was contacted by insureds with incredible tales of surveillance deception. These are their stories…..

Pauline, (not her real name), reported to me that she received a call from someone holding themselves out to be from her Health Insurance provider. The woman told her she would like to come to her home, find out how she was doing, and discuss her medical condition.

As a client, and having been provided with consulting advice, Pauline said, “No thank you.” About a half hour later, another woman called offering the “same services”, only this time the person came across as rude, insisting that a home visit could only be to her benefit. Again, Pauline said, “No thank you.” Ten minutes later, a man phoned who was rude and insisted that he be allowed to come to her home and interview her. By this time, Pauline is beside herself. Thankfully, she did not agree to the “health” interview.

Another client informed me today that he received a call from a recruiter who asked him if he was interested in a particular job. After checking the recruiter out online, he phoned the number given on the company’s website and found the phone line had been disconnected. He then went to LinkedIn and found no such company listed. A recruiter with a disconnected phone? I’m hearing more and more stories involving “occupational” scams and queries. Please be careful with this.

Some years ago an insured called me after hours with an almost unbelievable story. As a former ER physician he was unable to continue working and had gone out on disability. At 2 a.m. he heard an incredible crash in the front of his house and rushed to his fourth floor balcony where he saw a van on the side of the road and a downed cyclist screaming in pain.

The doc’s first instinct was that the scene looked set-up. The van driver motioned for the doctor to come down and help his victim whom he said he hit while driving his van. However, suspecting deception, the physican pulled out his phone and indicated he was calling 911 and the police.

Suddenly, the cyclist got up from the road, hurridely threw his bicycle in the back of the van, and both parties drove off. Any guesses as to what that was about? These stories all involved Unum investigators, but I wouldn’t put it past any investigative agency to pull stunts like this.

More recently, burly, rough-looking men have been known to show up at insureds’ doors demanding to come inside for interviews. Their sudden appearance and threatening demeanor leaves them a bit shaky with the experience, as it would anyone.

In the past insurance investigators always used what I call the “package delivery ruse.”  If, during surveillance insureds are not seen, a phone call is made to their residence leaving a message, “We are trying to deliver a package to you today. Can you please respond and let us know if you are home.”  Over the years I must have heard this very same phone call reported to me more than a thousand times!

The truth is that all insurance investigators consider “all bets off” and are using investigatory and surveillance scams that are, if not illegal, clearly deceptive.

I’m sure most people must realize that today the boundaries of ethics and right and wrong are blurred. Today, in order to survive a disability claim you have to be smarter than the person who is trying to scam you.

Please be aware of the possibility of ridiculous scams particularly when asked about work or medical condition. This type of sham is more frequent than insureds think.