LANSING — November 13-19 was International Fraud Awareness Week, and the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is reminding Michigan consumers to report suspected insurance and financial fraud to the DIFS Fraud Investigation Unit (FIU).

“Consumers nationwide have reported increased fraud in all types of consumer dealings, amounting to over $6 billion in fraud losses this year alone, so it is important for all of us to be more vigilant than ever,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “DIFS’ consumer protection mission promotes awareness and education to minimize the impact of fraud in the insurance and financial services sectors, and I am proud of the work that the FIU does every day to ensure that Michiganders have safe access to the industries we regulate.”

The DIFS FIU investigates criminal and fraudulent activity related to the insurance and financial markets and DIFS works with the Attorney General and other state, county, and local law enforcement to investigate these cases and refer them for prosecution. In addition to the work done by the FIU, DIFS also offers a variety of resources to help fight fraud, including the DIFS website, publications, videos, and the DIFS Locator, which enables consumers to verify that they are working with properly licensed individuals and businesses in the insurance and financial services industries.

Insurance and financial fraud can include a wide range of acts such as selling fake auto insurance certificates, staging fake accidents to file fraudulent claims, loan fraud, and taking advantage of cash apps to steal money from victims.

Here are important steps that consumers can take to avoid falling prey to fraud:

  • Never give personal or account information to anyone calling YOU, even if the caller says that it is for “verification purposes.” Personal information or identity verifying information should be provided only to organizations or companies that you have called or initiated contact with.
  • If the person contacting you says that there is a problem that must be resolved immediately, hang up and call the phone number that you know will get you to someone who can be trusted with personal or account information. This could be the phone number on your debit or credit card, account statement, or on mailed correspondence from the company. Do NOT call phone numbers provided in text messages or voicemails by the person contacting you, and never reply to an unsolicited text message.
  • Use multifactor authentication measures in addition to a password to log into accounts, such as a security code sent via text message or email. Do NOT provide this security code to anyone under any circumstances. Other multifactor authentication measures can include a scan of your fingerprint, retina, or face on a mobile device, or a passcode via an authentication app.

Suspected fraud in the insurance and financial sectors can be reported to the FIU safely, easily, and, in most cases, anonymously by calling 877-999-6442 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by visiting Michigan.gov/ReportFraud2DIFS.

The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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