Social Media and Fraud – Do you know who is looking at your accounts?

A large proportion of us are posting to social media sites almost every day whether it is checking-in on Facebook, posting holiday pictures to Instagram, uploading an embarrassing video to YouTube or networking on Google+. But just how much do you know about who is following or watching you?

With social media and fraud going hand in hand, feeds are being used more and more by employers, investigators, insurance and legal firms to keep a watchful eye over claimants and employees to check that what they are claiming is kosher.

So what sort of things are being looked into:

Employees

Claiming to be sick when your are not can lead to gross misconduct that could result in instant dismissal from your employment position. Cases like this are often proven by the internet, or more specifically social media.

For example, an employee may have called in sick to work and then posted on social media “lovely day at the beach” which highlights a breach in sickness absence procedures when the day off should have in fact be a holiday.

Personal Injury Claims

During litigation funded personal injury cases, it is common practice for defending solicitors and investigators to scour social media to check the claim is a valid one and to hunt down fraudulent claims.

A claim could be rejected if, for example, a self-employed person is trying to claim for loss of earnings and they are found chatting about work that they have carried out on social media.

Likewise if the claimant is claiming their mobility is impaired from an accident and then photographs or videos of a bungee jump come to light on social media this could not only end up with the case being thrown out but a full on fraud investigation being pursued.

Thanks to litigation funding personal injury claims are often on a no win no fee basis. However your case  could end up costing you dearly if a hint of fraud is detected, or defending solicitors try to make that claim.

Insurance Claims

We all love to check in and post our holiday snaps to show off our travels to far-away exciting places. But beware!

Should you be burgled whilst away on your holidays your insurance company could claim that you have not used “reasonable care”.  By advertising to said criminals that you are away from your home, you could be in a position where your insurance company will not pay out.

On the flip side of the coin, we know that burglars don’t steal things to save them, so they too open themselves up to being caught via social media. We all like to show off and boast about our possessions and interests and that includes criminals too. Social media investigators make it their job to find people advertising that they live above their means.

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

This all seems very black and white or cut and dried, but lets look at it from the social media point of view. We all like to make our lives look just a little better than they really are on social media, so things might not be always what they seem from the postings.

For example, a sick employee’s day at the beach could have been “under doctors orders”, a prescription of fresh air and light exercise. A suspected burglar could have come into money from a death in the family or a lottery win, and what looks like a fraudulent injury claim could just be down to timing. If someones mobility is impaired what else is there to do than post old photos to facebook?

 

Have you been caught out, or have you caught someone out on social media? Tell us about it in the comments.

About the Author

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Jackie Wakefield – Learned Blogger
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