Will Your Insurance Company Ever Call for Payment? Insurance Phone Scam

Warning to Insureds: Avoid This Insurance Phone Scam

Just when we think the scam calls can’t get any worse . . . they do! This new Insurance Phone Scam is hitting people all over South Carolina.
An insured recently contacted our agency to see if his insurance carrier would call to collect a payment if it is late.

After more discussion, I learned that someone posing as an employee of his insurance company called him to let him know his payment was late. They said that he could make a payment over the phone to avoid cancellation. Our insured did so, and before he got off the phone, the caller said he could go ahead and make another payment so he would be ahead next month. Our insured also agreed to this.

Now, I know it is easy to think that you would never be taken in by a phone scam like this. But consider the circumstances: Our insured was rushing out of the house to go visit some friends in the hospital, so he was distracted. Plus, the caller had the amount that was due for his insurance and his insurance company’s name. Who is to say you won’t get a call while the kids are crying and throwing a fit, you just received bad news at work, you just had a death in the family, and so on? As we like to say, hindsight is 20/20.

Thankfully our insured started thinking more about the phone call and thought it was odd they called about a late payment. He called our agency and his bank to further investigate. We were able to contact his carrier and verified there were no pending payments and that they would never call to get payment information. He was the victim of phone scam. His bank put a watch on his account so the payment did not go through and the money would not leave his account.

After this happened, I wondered if any of the insurance carriers call insureds for payment information. I made it my mission to call each of our carriers to ask. They all said the same thing: All invoices and late notices are mailed. As one carrier said, they are like the IRS. They don’t call for payment information. Note that a carrier’s billing department may occasionally call an insured, but it is always at the request of the insured. Other than that, they never initiate contact by phone. An online search for others who have experienced this type of phone scam returned few results, with most being related to health insurance, so this might be a relatively new scam aimed at consumers. To be safe, take advice from this article in U.S. News & World Report that states, “It’s best not to buy anything over the phone unless you have initiated the call.”

Don’t be a victim. If you ever get a call from your insurance carrier requesting personal information, it’s likely a phone scam. Call your local agent before providing any information over the phone unless you initiated the call.

AARP offers information on additional phone scams to avoid < https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/recognize-a-robocall.html>.