We all know the saying – “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” We see all kinds of deals like this advertised on the internet. They promise huge savings, but there’s usually a catch. Like you have to buy 10 or you have to listen to a high pressure sales pitch or you have to send money to some royal family.
Most of the time we can spot these ‘deals’ for what they are, a scam. Sometimes though, the deal or offering looks so genuine, so plausible, so enticing that we succumb to our better instincts and make a purchase. There have been numerous reports about people buying insurance only to find, when they have a claim, that they have no policy in force. Imagine you have a brand new car and purchased, what you believe, was a very inexpensive car insurance policy. The car gets stolen and you contact your insurer to make a claim. Your heart drops; you don’t actually have any insurance because you’ve been duped. Or what if the worst happens and you cause an accident resulting in a serious injury or someone’s death? You’re on the hook for any judgments against you.
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Just as recently as July 16, 2014 the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) warned consumers that some unlicensed person was selling insurance
. This has happened too many times leaving far too many innocent Ontarians at risk.
To make matters worse, providing false insurance, knowingly or not, to the police if you’re ever pulled over is not going to go over well and you could end up being charged with Driving Without Insurance, which could mean a fine of up to $25,000 on a first offense!
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What to Do if You Feel You are a Victim of an Insurance Scam
You can call Crime Stoppers if you wish to remain anonymous at 800.222.TIPS. You can also reach out to FSCO (http://www.fsco.gov.on.ca/en/about/warning-notices/Pages/what-to-do-scam-victim.aspx). FSCO handles complaints about individuals and companies operating in insurance, mortgage or financial services sectors. And you can also call your local police department. Either way, you should notify the authorities to help reduce the chances of someone else experiencing the same fraud.
How to Avoid a Fake Insurance Scam
The best option is to avoid fake insurance in the first place. Do your research into those offering ‘too good to be true’ insurance rates. You can search online for them and read any reviews or warnings. Or, if they are an insurance agent or life agent check to make sure they’re registered with FSCO
. If they are an insurance broker confirm they’re licenced by visiting the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario (RIBO) website
. If you can’t find the person’s name or the name of their agency or brokerage, find someone else you can verify and do business with them.
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