April 3, 2020
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is warning people in Washington state to beware of coronavirus scams and attempts to defraud them.
Kreidler’s office is working with state and federal agencies to warn people about scam attempts and is keeping a close eye on the insurance landscape.
“Our investigators are working just as hard, if not harder, on monitoring insurance fraud and the industry,” Kreidler said.
Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU), which investigates criminal insurance fraud, got a boost in the Legislature this year. Senate Bill 6049, sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, and recently signed by Gov. Jay Inslee, will enhance CIU's capacity to investigate and prosecute insurance fraud by creating a separate funding source starting July 1.
“Insurance fraud is a serious problem, one that we all pay for through higher premiums,” Liias said. “The unfortunate reality is that scammers specialize in taking advantage of people even during moments of crisis like COVID-19, so all of us need to be vigilant about reporting potential fraud to the insurance commissioner’s office.”
Since January 2020, CIU has received 667 insurance fraud referrals from the industry and insurance consumers. It has opened 29 criminal cases, submitted 11 cases to prosecutors and six cases have been adjudicated in court. CIU currently has 83 active cases.
People can report suspected insurance fraud to Kreidler’s CIU.
Other resources for people in Washington state:
- Get information about insurance and coronavirus.
- File a complaint about your insurance.
- The state attorney general is targeting price gouging scams.
- The state coronavirus page has information about federal stimulus check scams.
- The state Department of Financial Institutions posted information about financial and investment scams.
- The Federal Trade Commission has a great deal of information about coronavirus scams.
- The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has information about identifying and avoiding coronavirus scams and being cautious about cyber scams.
- Senior Medicare Patrol posted fraud alerts for people on Medicare.