Copyright held by The John Cooke Fraud Report. Reprint rights are granted with attribution to The John Cooke Fraud Report with a link to this website.
(Editor’s note: Well, we finally did it … convinced the Computer Search Guru of the Western States to write a column for the JCIFR. It cost us dearly – a free subscription and a promise to refrain from telling penguin jokes – so we expect some great material from Mr. Cronin.)
Announcing “CrossFeed.” A forum for investigators to exchange investigative tips, sources of information and to post questions for other investigators.
As we all know, fraudsters communicate amongst each other. In fact, they have excellent networks. This column is intended to encourage SIU’s to share “tidbits” of information which would be of interest to their fellow investigators. Often times, we come across good investigative questions, sources, techniques or unique problems or war stories.
“CrossFeed” will provide a forum for sharing this information amongst the “good guys.” Few investigators have the time to research and write full length articles, but most will come across interesting information we’d like to share … but never seem to have the time to do it.
How do you submit your CrossFeed? Just email to JCFR@AOL.COM (subject line: CrossFeed) or fax it to the John Cooke Fraud Report at (714) 289-7701. It’s that simple!
All submissions must include the submitter’s name and a business phone number. If you do not wish your name or company name used, please indicate in your submission.
On-Line Search Tip:
When I’m searching for information on a subject whose name and address I know, I have found Infotek’s Discovery Plus by Address Search to be very effective. By searching by address, I am able to get all the regular info on my subject (SSN, address history, aka’s, other SSN’s, relatives, real property, public financial filings etc.) and I get a listing of other persons who have used that same address for credit reporting purposes. This often identifies neighbors, relatives, or “significant others” who might otherwise not be identified if I searched by name only.
The new ISO combined AISG/NICB database has been released in beta form. This is essentially an actual “all-claims” database. The search engine is a slightly modified NICB front end. The key advantages include access to all claims reported to NICB and AISG, real time return of information, and the ability to search by any combination of fields. One great feature of this new database is the ability to search nationwide by name only. If you have a claimant with a fairly unique name, it is possible to search nationwide for additional claims. Previously, AISG would search by name only within the state of a given party’s address. Even the SOS (Search Only System) did not have a nationwide capability. This new feature should be of immense value to all insurers. I would suggest going back through active files where a suspicion existed that the insured/claimant had additional claims, but there was no search ability available to locate the information. This new system will help you find claims which previously went undetected. It represents a major step forward in fighting fraud.
For those of us who still use the DOS version of the NICB software, printing up multiple claims records can be a time-consuming chore. Here’s a shortcut which should help. Once you have run your search, and are presented with the summary screen of matching records, select those records which you wish to print by placing an “X” in the left column. Once you have done this, key in the following string of commands to print all the selected records: F6, F11, 3, Enter, Enter, Enter, F3. (I have these commands on a short “cheat sheet” next to my monitor.) This string will send all selected records to your printer, print them, and return you to the summary screen. If there is more than one screen of summary records, individual records on each page must be selected/printed one page at a time.
Whenever I’m asked to run background checks on a subject, the first thing I do is to check the claim file closely. Determine the subject’s name (and any variations on it) as well as DOB, SSN, address and phone numbers. I usually then verify the subject’s identity by running a Discovery Plus search through Infotek. This provides SSN, DOB, address history, names of relatives at the residence, financial encumbrances (such as tax liens, judgments, and/or bankruptcies) and also the names of other relatives, and neighbors. If I have a good address for the subject, I often run the search “by address” rather than by name. The advantage of this is that this will often list the names of other unrelated (but possibly relevant) persons at the address. It may also list possible aliases that the subject has used for other claims.
For those of you actively using e-mail, be wary of strangers sending you messages like this one:
“Hey! I saw you in a room but I am unable to IM you. It knocks me offline. Can you call me? I wanted to talk to you because I am moving to your city and I don’t know anyone. My number is (664) 410-3642 and my name is April. I really wanted to meet someone before I move! Hope to talk to you real soon.”
This is a scam that can cost you plenty of money. The 664 area code reaches Montserrat, an island in the Atlantic. When you reach “April,” she’ll keep you talking, one way or another, just as long as she can. Then, when you get your phone bill, your eyes will bug out, your tongue will slide backwards down your throat and you will fall to the ground with a thud. The 664 area is unregulated when it comes to billing … and most local phone companies cannot (and will not) help you.
The new industry-wide claims database resource – to be known as ISO ClaimSearch SM – is being developed by Insurance Services Office, Inc. through the combination of the databases operated by ISO’s AISG Unit (the Index System and PILR) which was acquired in 1997, and the motor vehicle databases formerly administered by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). Coming with ISO’s development program are enhanced interfaces for claims and investigations that combine the features of the former AISG and NICB capabilities.
The new combined Investigations Query (IQ) Tool has been in beta testing since December of 1998. The product is now being released to the industry. The new Investigations Query Tool searches Index, PILR and the motor vehicle databases, giving you the results you would get with an actual “all-claims” database. The key advantages include access to all claims reported to NICB and AISG, real-time return of information, and the ability to search by any combination of fields.
One great new feature of this tool is the ability to search country-wide by name only. If you have a claimant with a fairly unique name, it is possible to search on only the name. This new feature could be of immense value to you. I would suggest going back through active files where you suspected that the insured or claimant had additional claims, but you weren’t able to find them. This new Tool will help you find claims which previously went undetected. It represents a major step forward in fighting fraud.
Looking ahead, there are more new features and tools on the horizon. In 1999, ISO expects to release an Internet version of IQ. The INET version of IQ will provide access to investigations searches, as well as to other third-party data. For more information on IQ and the ISO ClaimSearch development program, contact the customer support number at 1-800-399-2585.
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