(3TV/CBS 5)--We know we should be careful with what we post on social media. Who knows who might be looking?

It turns out, your insurance company might be.

What you post could be used when you file an insurance claim. 

It happened in the Valley back in October 2015.

Court records show, a Valley man wrecked his $60,000 Corvette. He filed an insurance claim, stating he crashed it on an Interstate 10 off-ramp. 

But a YouTube video posted by a local photographer shows what really happened. 

In that video, a white Corvette sits on the start line of a drag strip, about to race a motorcycle. When given the green light, both vehicles launch to full speed. But the Corvette loses control halfway down the quarter-mile track, spinning out and hitting the concrete wall. 

When the owner’s insurance company found that video, they confronted him with it. The man admitted he wrecked while drag racing at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports. 

More and more often, insurance companies are checking in on customers' social media when they file an insurance claim.

"Insurance companies have been mining social media for years now, it's been a revolution that's changing the way fraud is investigated," said James Quiggle with the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. 

Quiggle says nearly $80 billion in fraudulent claims are filed in the U.S. each year. 

"Insurance scams are affecting everybody, they're driving up our premiums, they're draining people's bank accounts, some scams even kill people, this is a major league crime that all Americans should be concerned about," said Quiggle. 

He says if there are any red flags with a claim, your insurance company is probably looking to make sure you're telling the truth. 

"If you think you can get away from insurance fraud, you're up against a team of trained investigators whose entire lives and careers are devoted  to the science of uncovering fraud clues. You're an amateur, they're professions. Good luck," said Quiggle. 

Diane Brown with the Arizona Public Interest Research Group or PIRG, says this tactic could be unfair for customers with legitimate claims.

“Social media often doesn't tell the whole story of an injury to the person or to their home or a vehicle. An individual may post something today that is from three weeks ago. They may post something that a physician has encouraged them to do such as to go to the gym or to go swimming,” said Brown. 

She thinks this tactic should be used with caution. 

“Insurance companies should follow the standard protocol of reviewing documentations that come from a physician, from a police department or some other trusted authorized entity,” said Brown. 

As the consumer, Brown says you have the right to ask your insurance company if they are using your social media as a reason to deny a claim. 

She advises consumers to always be careful of what they post.

Court documents show the drag racing Corvette owner “knew what he had done was wrong" and "stated that he wanted to repay GEICO." 

He was charged with insurance fraud, a felony, sentenced to probation, and ordered to pay restitution. 

 


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

 

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