Consumers are getting scorched to the tune of $80 billion per year in stolen insurance money. From the average consumer committing fraud to elaborate criminal rings, it all adds up to costing you more in premiums.
"All kinds of schemers are walking the streets just looking out for you," said James Quiggle, The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.
The national non-profit watch-dog group put together a summer hit list.
With so many Americans hitting the highway, look out for crooks staging crashes.
"A car might suddenly dash in front of you, jam on the brakes and force you to rear end it," Quiggle said. "Then it's packed with passengers who all pretend they're injured or hurt."
Quiggle says this "rear-end" scheme is usually forged by foreign crime rings looking for big payouts from insurance companies.
He also warns of the popular "Parking Lot" swindle targeting victims backing out of a space.
"They wave you out, friendly waving, then you slowly pull out and they drive into your path. You hit them and all of them are coached to act like they have bad whiplash," Quiggle said.
His tips to avoid getting taken include, don't tailgate, consider using a dashboard camera to record activity, and never back up quickly.
If you do get in a wreck, avoid the body shop con game. Quiggle says dents add up to dollars for shady repair shops either padding your bill or charging your for repairs they didn't perform. His tip: "Make sure you choose a body shop that's on your auto insurance company's preferred list."
Look for accreditation and research reviews before your trust a body shop. A scheme soaking seniors is one of the summer's hottest schemes.
Con men are cold-calling seniors, warning they have to pay for new Medicare cards which don't display Social Security numbers now or lose their benefits later.
"Medicare will not cold call, it will not send emails," Quiggle said.
Next, watch out for extreme weather schemes. Crooks clean up after floods, hurricanes or fires. Quiggle says be wary of the post-disaster door knock.
"These are incompetent, unlicensed contractors, taking advantage of your desperation and anxiety," Quiggle said.
The Big Takeaway: When dealing with a contractor, don't pay up in-full, up-front. Coordinate repairs with your insurance company, and always check your contractor's license and insurance.