Types of Buyer Fraud
Buyer fraud also comes in a number of different flavors, but they all center around a theme of dishonesty. Basic types of buyer fraud include:
- Post-Dated Life Insurance: Post-dated life insurance refers to a policy that has been arranged after the death of the person being insured, but appears to have been issued before death. This type of fraud is usually carried out with the help of an insurance agent. It is also one of the easier types of fraud for insurance companies to detect, because record keeping has become more stringent.
- False Medical History: Falsifying medical history is one of the most common types of insurance fraud. By omitting details such as a smoking habit or a pre-existing condition, the buyer hopes to get the insurance policy for cheaper than he or she would have otherwise been able.
- Murder for Proceeds: There are two versions of the murder for proceeds fraud. In the first, the insured doesn’t know they are insured and are understandably surprised to be murdered. In the second, the policy is legitimate and was taken out in better times, however, financial hardships lead the perpetrator to decide that killing his or her spouse/family member/business partner, for the money, is the best way out of the problem.
- Lack of Insurable Interest: As with murder for proceeds, insuring people you shouldn’t be insuring, in hopes that they will die, constitutes fraud. Insurance is founded on the idea of protecting people from financial loss, so using it to gamble on lives for a financial gain is a perversion of the system. This includes viatical settlements, which combine non-insurable interest with falsified policies taken out on the terminally ill.
- Suicidal Accidents: Just as financial hardship can lead otherwise rational people towards murder, the same factors can lead people to commit suicide in a way so it looks accidental. This constitutes fraud in that it is an intentional act for the purpose of collecting the insurance proceeds, and would not have occurred if those proceeds did not exist. This can be a very difficult one to detect, as the medical examiner has final say in accidental death. Even if it is clearly a suicide, the claim centers on the state of mind, rational or not, at the time of suicide.
- Faking Death or Disability: Many life insurance policies have riders for disability, creating the temptation to fake one to get the payout. However, some people take it a step further and fake their own deaths. In both cases, the fraudster has to deal with the possibility of being discovered through an investigation.