In this world where we all spend a lot of time on our digital devices, we’ve all had to become more and more careful of online scammers. We know what to look out for, like unanticipated emails asking us to do something urgent and text messages saying we “won” something. One scam that we don’t expect is happening more and more often, though, and that’s fake insurance companies offering very good deals … deals that may tempt even the most savvy consumer.
As some Albertans are looking for relief from overly onerous insurance costs, the door has been opened to industrious scam artists looking to take advantage of those who are desperate. The Government of Alberta’s recent switch to a direct compensation for property damage system for car insurance will purportedly begin to bring down rates for consumers soon, but meanwhile, there are those who are preying on the situation.
Tips for spotting a fake insurance company
It may seem incredible that someone would go so far as set up a sham insurance company in order to cheat people out of their hard-earned money, but it does happen and they are very convincing. If you are shopping around for insurance options, the Government of Alberta provides a thorough list of the licensed auto insurance providers in Alberta, which you can check for the validity of the company you are thinking of dealing with. You may also want to check their online reviews for any other red flags, such as troubles with filing claims, slow payments, and poor service.
Ways to spot fake insurance company scams are:
- A very, very good deal. If you feel like the policy you’ve been offered sounds too good to be true, well, it more than likely is.
- False advertisements are often found in community newspapers and flyers, where the trust level of the reader is higher. If a website isn’t provided, always search the company name.
- Hard sales tactics. A fake insurance company may urge you to sign up ASAP in order to receive the best deal or threaten to change the terms if you don’t agree right away.
- A request for a service fee. Creditable insurance companies and brokers will never ask for a fee to offer a quote.
- Few ways to pay. If the “insurance company” will only allow you to pay by cash or e-transfer, you should be very wary.
The sad fact is that if you made a purchase from a fraudulent company, you do not have coverage because the company never existed. Any payments you made likely went directly into the pocket of the scammer. File a complaint immediately with your local Calgary Police Service’s district office, then contact your bank and other creditors with the police file number. The bank will want to watch all of your accounts closely, as you have more than likely shared some sensitive information and you will need to be very careful to watch for signs of identity theft. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports through Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada and file a report through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Insurance brokers are your best bet
There are many benefits to using a certified insurance broker such as us at Lane’s. Insurance brokers work for you, not the insurance company, and have access to a number of different policies from respected providers. We do the shopping for you, as we are able to work with many well-known providers to find the best coverage and rates available for you.
Insurers often offer us special pricing because we have extensive experience and are specially trained to select the correct policy for our customers. We have a proven track record of avoiding underinsurance or unnecessary claims, which saves insurers money. Those savings are then passed on to you.
Because brokers work with you as an individual, we are better equipped to deal with your needs. We will inquire about your specific circumstances to help you find the right policy, and because brokers are specialists in our industry, we can work more efficiently and save you time. We are very familiar with the products we work with and can effectively cross check different companies’ policies to be sure to tick all of your boxes. Most of all, we excel at educating customers, answering questions and explaining coverage, so you know you have the best insurance for you and your family. Contact us at our Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, and Alberta offices today to talk about your options.