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Q: I think that fraud is being perpetrated on the fraud-fighting industry. I am constantly getting virus warnings on my computer e-mail and hearing stories (“This is true, so you’d better listen carefully…”) about stolen kidneys and hypodermic needles being left in theater seats. While I don’t think it’s wise to discount everything I hear, it takes up a lot of my time. Any suggestions?
A: If you are not computer savvy, might I suggest the book entitled “Spiders in the Hairdo: Modern Urban Legends.” If you are internet capable, try http://urbanlegends.miningco.com/library/blhoax.htm
Also, if you tune in to http://ciac.llni.gov/ciac/ciachoaxes.html, you can look up the current e-mail hoaxes, most of which contain the name “Bill Gates.”
Q: In cases involving a significant amount of damage to a collision insured automobile, how does the repair vs. totaled analysis work?
A: In theory, when the repair cost and the salvage value equal or exceed the market value, the car is written off. Depending on the extent of the damage, however, insurers will usually want a safety margin of 10-25 percent. This is a cushion for those cases where there is hidden damage and repairs end up exceeding the estimate.
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