Beware of Insurance Check Scam

California insurance customers should be aware of another scam that is affecting the state. As San Francisco insurance lawyers, we know that insurance can be confusing and complicated and unscrupulous people take advantage of this to try to trick people with scams.

This recent scam, according to the California Department of Insurance and news reports, involves fake checks being sent to California insurance customers pretending to be from the Department. Some even have a forged signature of Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. The checks have been for various amounts from $2,000 to $5,000 and are sent with an explanation that the Department is issuing a “refund” or sending a “payment” to the individual or family. But a statement from the Department said, “”The department does not issue checks such as these and is warning consumers and businesses to be alert if they are presented with a check of this type.” It also warned businesses and individuals to be on the lookout for these fake checks and not to trust any checks purporting to come from the Department of Insurance.

California is one of six states affected by this type of scam. Here, most of the checks have been received in the southern half of the state. California insurance spokesperson from the department, Dave Althausen, said that the Department has yet to discover why the checks are being circulated, who is behind it, or what they are hoping to gain through this fraudulent exercise. Mr. Althausen said that the California Highway Patrol is currently investigating the case and are hoping to halt the distribution of the false checks and discover the story behind them.

This scam comes at a particularly confusing time for Californians, as insurance customers in the state are expected to get rebates for their health insurance in the next week. These rebates or refunds stem from the federal health insurance law (“Obamacare”) that was recently upheld by the US Supreme Court. These rebates are coming from the health insurance companies themselves, not the Department, and are for greatly smaller amounts than the thousands of dollars involved in the fraudulent insurance check scam. But about 1.8 million Californians will receive these legitimate rebates by the beginning of August. This reimbursement can come in several forms, including a discount to future premiums or a return into the credit or debit account used to pay, but it can also returned through a check in the mail. So Californians should be aware of the fake check scam and know the difference.

Californians who are confused about a check received or who know anything about this suspicious activity are encouraged to contact the state authorities. Anyone concerned about the validity of a check or who has information about this scam can contact the California Department of Insurance at 909-919-2200.

If you have been affected by an insurance scam or if your insurance company is giving you the run around trying to deny benefits or reduce your coverage, contact an experienced California insurance attorney in your area to help understand your case and any legal avenues you may have.

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$54 million Recovered for California Insurance Consumers in 2011

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