ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — When Cynthia Davis had her Buick backed into by a cab driver on Saturday, she did what anyone should: She called her insurance company to report the accident.
“Luckily, it wasn’t my fault,” Davis said.
That’s when she discovered the problem with her coverage. The person who sold her the policy, which Davis believed was issued by Esurance, wasn’t an insurance agent after all. Instead, that person was merely masquerading as a broker and selling fraudulent policies.
“They gave me this insurance card…and then they gave me a copy of the policy,” Davis said.
The papers made it appear as though there were a legitimate policy number, which covered her vehicle in full and at a very low price.
But when she tried to call Amelia Hall, the alleged agent that Davis and several other co-workers bought their insurance from, they received a recorded phone message, saying: “This phone does not accept incoming calls.”
“It’s an outrageous fraud and scam on people,” says Minnesota’s Commerce Commissioner, Mike Rothman.
Rothman says the convenience of the Internet has given rise to this kind of scam. And he warns that if not detected until after an accident has occurred, it’s your financial and legal loss to bear.
“These scammers, what they do is take your cash and create a phony insurance card and then pay for the first premium,” he said. “Then boom, it’s done. So you lose your insurance coverage after that.”
Davis is lucky her loss is small. Now she hopes by alerting others to her misfortune, it will help prevent hardship and heartbreak from happening to others.
“That’s wrong, because somebody could really get hurt bad, and they don’t have insurance and then they are out of a car,” she said. “Who are they going to call, because this is not legit.”
To make sure your insurance agent or broker is selling legitimate policies consumers should check with the Minnesota Commerce Commissioner. To check if an agent is licensed to sell insurance in the state there is a simple online tool to use.
You can find it at this link.