The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) is warning insurance staff about approaches by fraudsters trying to get access to customer data. This particular unit of the London City Police has received reports which indicate that criminals are on the move to target personnel from the insurance industry in pubs, cafés or social media. Moreover, reports show that insurance staff has also been spied upon and approached while leaving an insurance company and walking towards their car or the public transport.
The warning came just after the IFED found evidence of this method by several criminal organizations when investigating claims management agencies. Once the customer information is acquired, it is used to make nuisance calls to customers who are harassed and bullied by claims management companies. These companies then make bogus or exaggerated insurance claims ‘on behalf’ of the customer, who would never have submitted the claim otherwise. Sensitive customer data can also be used by fraudsters to go on and commit other identity fraud offences.
In the past three weeks, IFED officers investigating four separate cases where claims management companies are suspected of bribing insurance workers in exchange for customer data have arrested or questioned five people, including two former employees of insurance companies.
Insurance staff warned
IFED warns insurance staff for their exposure on social media that could refer to their employment in the insurance industry and strongly advises them to report any approaches by criminals directly to their superiors. Employees are also reminded of the criminal nature of providing or selling privacy information to third parties.
In order to reduce the chances of being targeted by criminal fraudsters, the following measures could be taken by people working at an insurance company:
- Be careful talking about work in public places, such as pubs, cafés or on public transport
- Check your privacy settings on social media accounts and be wary of any online approaches from people you don’t know
- Remove any identifying objects, such as lanyards, badges, company clothing etc. when leaving your office building
- Make sure you are aware of your employer’s policies around data handling