As an update to an item referenced in a previous post on Wayne's World here, last night NBC-17 News in Raleigh aired a story about the recent horrific Smithfield embezzlement case and how one of the fourteen victims identified to date has been effected.
Furthermore, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin shared with the audience several tips on how to prevent being defrauded by insurance agents, investment advisers and others who offer to help manage your economic security.
As reported by NBC-17:
"The North Carolina Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division, which is investigating Hall, has more fraud cases than ever before, according to Commissioner Wayne Goodwin. [He] attributes it to the high unemployment rate.Click here for the link to the NBC-17 news item.
'Fraud comes in many forms. And one thing which I have learned is that it can happen to anybody,' he said.
But Goodwin offers tips on how you can protect yourself:
-Always get a second opinion
-Ask family members to help with background checks
-Check out companies with the Department of Insurance
-Always ask brokers for verification and statements
-Never sign blank forms
-Never pay in cash for premiums
-And keep every record.
'I don't want to discourage people from developing trusting relationships. But you should always, always, when you are talking about your security get as much background information as you can and verify that that trust is warranted,' Goodwin said."
In addition to the high unemployment rate, the Commissioner attributes the spike in attempted and actual fraud to a plethora of causes tied to the dour economy. Among them are also the drop in value of stocks, securities and homes; job losses; the drop in consumer spending; and, the failure of wages generally to keep up with the cost of living.
"Your Insurance Commissioner and your state Department of Insurance are on the job every day fighting scammers, embezzlers, and thieves," said Goodwin. "Ultimately, we root them out, help send them to prison, and seek recovery and restitution for the victims."
In 2009 alone the Department has recovered approximately $10 million for affected individuals and businesses.