Just because the recession is coming to an end, it doesn't necessarily mean that criminals are taking a break from insurance fraud scams.
The economic downturn saw higher numbers of insurance fraud cases in a large number of states. Many of these scams involved individuals trying to dispose of vehicles they could no longer afford by abandoning or burning them in remote locations and then reporting them stolen.
However, recent years have also seen an upswing in staged auto accidents, where entire criminal rings have sprung up around the practice of recruiting people to participate in phony crashes and then file insurance claims.
According to new data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the number of claims deemed "questionable" by insurance companies jumped 58 percent in Florida alone between 2008 and 2009. Tampa was said to be "at the epicenter of this crime trend."
Consumers who are aware of a fraud scam are generally advised to report it to the proper authorities. After all, fraud contributes to higher auto insurance policies and costs millions of dollars in higher premiums and insurer losses each year.