2013-09-19 / Community

SOS issues insurance scams crackdown

LANSING – Saying her office has uncovered significant evidence of fake and fraudulent auto insurance, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced a new initiative to protect consumers.

“We have bad guys who actually set up phony help desks so when our Secretary of State office clerks call to verify a policy, they reach a real person who vouches for a bogus auto insurance policy,” said Johnson. “We are going to put the brakes on the criminals who are selling this stuff and are preying on unsuspecting Michigan drivers.”

Johnson announced the launch of a joint effort – the Fighting Auto Insurance Rip-offs initiative that will include the Michigan State Police, prosecutors, state officials and insurance industry leaders. She said her office is cracking down on suspected fraud through targeted staff training and aggressive vehicle registration suspensions, but the problem needs to be jointly addressed by the State of Michigan, the law enforcement community and the industry.

On July 31, Johnson’s office conducted a one-day snapshot of the 15,000 registration renewals done across all Secretary of State branches. When electronic verification was not available, staff members verified about 3,500 paper insurance certificates submitted by customers. More than 16 percent of the certificates checked that day were invalid or fraudulent.

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