Scammers often target insurance agencies as an easy way to defraud consumers. Several popular insurance-related scams include ghost brokers, call spoofing, and enterprise spoofing.
Ghost Brokers Target Consumers
Ghost brokers are all too real and often scam hard-working people out of their money. A ghost broker is someone who claims to work for an insurance agency and offers consumers reduced prices on policies. In reality, these individuals are not licensed agents and often set up fake insurance accounts. They also may also:
- Set up legitimate accounts and then cancel them as soon as the consumer receives ID cards
- Sign up multiple consumers for the same policy
- Use false information to get consumers lower rates
If someone deals with a ghost broker, they end up paying premiums that do not protect them when something unfortunate occurs. When it's time to file a claim, they may learn they do not have valid car or home insurance, leading to financial and sometimes legal problems.
How To Spot a Scammer
You can protect your customers by giving them information about how scammers work, which educates your clients and helps build your agency's credibility. Providing them with the following warning signs will protect your agency and customers against call spoofing attempts.
Scammers make a consumer's situation sound urgent. They may warn that the call recipient must take action now to protect themselves and their family. This approach makes consumers more susceptible to poor purchasing decisions. When your clients receive calls from pushy representatives, they should end the communication and research the caller.
Lack of a Digital Presence
Remind your clients that legitimate insurance agents will have a digital presence. They can quickly check to see if the caller has a website, social media accounts, or a page on an insurance agency's website. If they do not have a digital presence, they are not trustworthy. No one does business these days without some online footprint.
Phoney Physical Address
The caller is not a legitimate agent if they cannot provide a valid physical address. Agents either have a brick-and-mortar office from which they work or are connected to an office for an insurance agency. If the caller cannot provide a valid physical address, they are most likely a scammer.
Lack of an Insurance License Number
Real insurance agents must have a license number for any state they operate in. Your clients should always get the caller's license number and check it against the state registry. If the caller hesitates or refuses to provide a number, they are almost definitely a scammer.
Inconsistent Contact Information
Remind consumers that they should compare the contact information provided by the insurance agent to the information listed on their digital presence. For legitimate insurance agents, the phone number should be from the same service area.
In addition, they should check that the email address comes from the company's domain and not a third-party provider such as Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. Anyone can claim they represent a company, but the lack of an official email clearly indicates something is wrong.
Call Spoofing Indicators
Call spoofers use software to make their calls appear legitimate on a consumer's caller ID. Often, their number seems local when it can originate from across the country or across the sea. Remind your clients that spoofers will often:
- Ask for account information: They should never give it.
- Claim to be from a government agency: If the call recipient is concerned, they should hang up and call the agency's listed number for information.
- Claim there is an urgent account issue, such as an Amazon problem or bank problem: Consumers should hang up and access their accounts on their own to check for issues.
- Ask for the call recipient to take some action, such as pressing a button, etc.: Consumers should hang up instead.
Maintaining Phone Number Reputation
You will help your clients by maintaining good calling practices. Your phone number reputation can help your agents reach customers and provide validity for your insurance agency. These tips can help ensure your caller ID displays correctly when dialing customers and leads:
Monitor Outbound DIDs
Scan your numbers frequently so you can immediately identify when they receive flags. This issue may indicate poor dialing behavior, call spoofing attempts, or a misconfigured dialer. Identifying these problems early can prevent your numbers from being labeled "spam" or "scam."
Register Inbound Only DIDs on DNO
Scammers often target enterprises, using their numbers to dial consumers. For instance, people often get fake calls from the IRS or law enforcement that they answer out of fear. Phone numbers that only take inbound calls should be registered on a DNO registry. This action can prevent scammers from using them in call spoofing attempts.
Redress Phone Number Flags and Blocks
Prompt remediation efforts are crucial if your numbers receive flags or blocks. Contacting carriers and analytics engines can help correct the problem and rebuild the reputation of your numbers. In the short term, flagged numbers should be retired until the flags are removed.
Diligence for Insurance Contact Centers
Insurance contact centers and insurance agencies are prime targets for scammers. People are naturally concerned about having adequate policy protection and are vulnerable to pressure tactics and false low rates. You can protect your clientele and build your agency's reputation by educating your clients about scammers and their manipulative schemes.