Beware: Funeral policy fraud is on the rise

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Always check your statements as fraud is on the rise. Photo: iStock
Always check your statements as fraud is on the rise. Photo: iStock

PERSONAL FINANCE


If you discover that an insurance product such as funeral cover has been fraudulently taken out in your name, immediately notify your service provider to ensure that the fraud is stopped.

When fraudsters access your personal information, it can be used to take out a funeral policy and then claim benefits on the policy using a fake death certificate and other supporting documentation.

“Finding out you are the victim of a fraudster can be distressing, both financially and psychologically. Old Mutual has put various measures in place to protect customers; however, it’s important that every customer takes responsibility for ensuring that their personal information is protected to prevent it from being used to open policies fraudulently.”

READ: Vaccinated people could pay less for life cover

“This type of fraud is widespread across the industry. In most instances victims are not aware they have been compromised and only realise it when it is too late. We urge all customers to take the necessary steps to safeguard their information,” says Rose Khutlang, Old Mutual regional manager.

Important safety steps to take:

  • Check your bank statements regularly and look out for suspicious debit orders linked to policies you did not authorise. If you spot something irregular, notify your bank and the concerned service provider immediately;
  • Check your pay slip regularly and report any deductions you did not sign up for to your employer or human resources department for further investigation; and
  • Report any suspected fraud to both the police and your financial services provider.

How is funeral policy fraud usually carried out?

  • Fraudsters fabricate an identity using stolen personal information and falsify documents to register a non-existent death. They then use the death certificate issued by the department of home affairs to lodge a claim using their victim’s policy; or
  • Alternatively, fraudsters steal their victim’s personal information to take out a policy. Later they register the death of their victim and submit a claim against the policy.

Investigators at Old Mutual routinely examine transactions to uncover fraud and, where necessary, seek the assistance of the SA Police Service to investigate and prosecute fraud. This working relationship with the police also involves assisting officers with investigations.

“We are committed to ensuring that families who make financial sacrifices to provide loved ones with dignified funerals are not subjected to the additional stress and misery caused by people who prey on others,” says Khutlang.

“By being vigilant, our customers can help us stamp out this criminal activity.”


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Maya Fisher-French 

Personal Finance Editor

+27 11 713 9001
personalfinance@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
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