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  • Dean Smith

The Media Plays Big Role in How Public Views Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Why is it that insurance fraud rates are skyrocketing at a much faster pace than violent crimes in the United States? Dalene Bartholomew, Vice President of investigative firm Probe Information Services Inc., stated at the Combined Claims Conference held in Orange County, California that the media’s portrayal of workers’ compensation fraud is often comical and victimless. Of course, we know that not to be true, as costs to businesses and consumers steadily rise. And sure, technology has allowed us to get a deeper look into the personal lives and activities of our claimants, but the pendulum swings both ways. The more information we, as investigators, gain access to, the more information the claimant gains access to. You can find ANYTHING on the internet. For example, Denise Johnson of Insurance Journal quotes Bartholomew with, “In addition, viral videos on YouTube and other video hosting sites as well as news reports provide tools to teach people how to commit fraud. They also reveal the tools investigators use to catch suspected fraudsters, including social media sites and surveillance.” When the punishment for committing a crime is severe, the punishment likely acts as a deterrent. However, when the public’s perception of the punishment for workers’ compensation fraud is a termination of benefits or restitution instead of jail time, it starts to become a free-for-all. Judging by our first article, and the amount of money that fraud is costing consumers and businesses alike, it may be beneficial to start spreading the word and getting the media outlets in on it. Source

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