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Funeral policy fraud on the increase

Sep 20, 2021

Funeral policy fraud on the increaseWhen fraudsters access your personal information, they can use this information to take out a funeral policy in your name, 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,” says Rose Khutlang, Old Mutual Provincial Manager.

“Old Mutual has put various measures in place to protect customers, however, it’s important that every customer takes responsibility for ensuring their personal information is protected to prevent it from being used to open policies fraudulently.

“This type of funeral policy 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.”

These safety steps include:

  • 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 payslip regularly, and if there are any deductions you did not sign up for, report this to your employer or HR department for further investigation.
  • Report any suspected fraud both to the police and your financial services provider.

“We view all cases of insurance fraud as serious crimes and are committed to stamping it out wherever possible,” adds Khutlang.

How is the 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.

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 SAPS to investigate and prosecute fraud. Our working relationship with the police also involves assisting officers with investigations,” says Khutlang.

“We are committed to ensuring that those 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.”

This post was based on a press release issued on behalf of Old Mutual.

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Maya Fisher-French author of Money Questions Answered

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