Far Out Friday: Outrageous insurance scams

It’s International Fraud Awareness week, and we decided to take a look at three of the wackiest ever insurance scams.

Life & Health


Today marks the end of International Fraud Awareness week, and insurance fraud is making its way up the charts to become one of the most profitable crimes in the US, second only to illegal drug sales.

It’s estimated that fraud costs consumers between $400 and $700 a year in increased home and auto insurance premiums, and while that’s no laughing matter, some insurance scams are more memorable than others.

Here’s a look at three of our favorite scams listed on the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud’s “Hall of Shame.” If you think you’ve got something to beat these scandalous swindles, let us know in the comments section.

1. Injury Can't Prevent Wrestler from Wreaking Havoc

One Pennsylvania town wrestler was tough enough to tango with 300-pound opponents in the ring, but claimed slipping on a cup of coffee at a 7-Eleven was enough to prevent him from even mowing the lawn or spending time with his son.

However,  he wasn't counting on surveillance video catching him working as a massage therapist and even as a male escort. Finally, when the 280-pound wrestler was caught dominating in the ring, being thrown against ropes and slamming himself on top of opponents, the Pennsylvania AG stepped in.

The result? Three years of probation and a fine beefier than he was.

2. Counterfeit Cat Not Covered

When a Washington man was rear-ended at a traffic light in Tacoma this January, he required chiropractic treatment and $3,500 in medical coverage to treat his soft-tissue injuries. However, the man’s cat—Tom—was not so lucky.

The man alleged Tom died in the traffic accident, and received $50 for the loss of his cat from his insurer.

However, Tom was apparently worth more to the Tacoma man, who demanded $20,000 in exchange for the loss of his pet. The insurer asked for pictures to verify Tom’s existence, and the man sent over two photos of a white cat with blue eyes. However, the insurer did a quick internet search for “white cat” and discovered that “Tom” was actually two different cats—one of which was featured in a Wikipedia article.

The check was canceled and “Tom’s” owner was fined $2,250.

3. Dubious Diamond Plot Unveils Hoax Hassids

Near the end of 2011, two diamond merchants noticed their business was sagging and decided to increase funds with a daring plot: hire two “thieves” to dress up as Hassidic Jews and fake a robbery of their New York store.

Their plan would allow them to make a $9mn claim and recover their faltering enterprise.

However, the two merchants weren’t counting on their own security cameras to record them  emptying their jewelry boxes from the safe before the hoax Hassids arrived—after being buzzed in by the shop owners.

Both merchants received up to five years in prison for the attempted fraud.


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