Workers compensation fraud is on the rise and the financial loss from it totals in the billions of dollars per year in the United States.
It is estimated that workers compensation fraud costs the average U.S. citizen as much as a $1,000 per year in increased insurance premiums and extra expenses.
As a result, it is important for insurers to catch people who are cheating the system.
Unfortunately, the time and money involved in catching people who file fraudulent workers compensation claims can be extremely high due to the professional skills and man hours required to conduct the sensitive and tricky surveillance needed in these cases.
However, better and less expensive technology like drones and small surveillance cameras are making this task easier and cheaper for the private investigators who watch and record people that are suspected of scamming the system.
One of the private investigators who is taking advantage of these advances in surveillance technology is Paul Colbert.
Colbert owns a private investigation company in St. Petersburg, Fl called Meridian Investigative Group that uses the latest surveillance technology to catch insurance cheats.
Over 90% of Meridian’s business involves recording evidence to fight fraudulent workers compensation claims.
Private investigators at Meridian Investigative Group routinely deploy hidden surveillance cameras and drones in neighborhood areas surrounding a person’s house to monitor their outdoor activities for any behaviors that show their workers compensation claim is bogus.
These hidden smart cameras have motion detection that activate and record only when movement is detected. They can also zoom in and follow a person automatically, without having to be operated manually.
In addition, these cameras have wireless network capabilities that allow Meridian’s private investigators to conduct their surveillance in real time from an office across town or even thousands of miles away.
Prior to these technological advances in remote surveillance, private investigators like Colbert had to spend days or weeks on stakeouts to record people.
Believe it or not, according to Colbert, most fraud investigators are still doing surveillance the old-school way with time-consuming stakeouts that are often conducted in miserable conditions.
Colbert is already thinking about how he will use the next wave of surveillance technology like cameras with facial recognition software and solar powered drones that can fly around an area for hours or days without being noticed.
Before any surveillance recording is done, investigators look for red flags, such as: a history of filing injury claims, questionable injuries that cannot be medically proved or disproved as well as any information that the person is engaging in physical activity out in public that could falsify their injury claim.
Recorded surveillance video is so effective that doctors and injury lawyers will often drop a claim upon seeing the recorded evidence.
Insurers can often save hundreds of thousands of dollars in injury claims and legal fees by hiring a good private investigator for several thousand dollars.
For the people with privacy objections or those concerned about the creepiness factor in this type of surveillance work, Colbert notes that people have no expectation of privacy when they are outside and not hidden by a privacy fence.
Colbert also notes that we already live in a surveillance society, where we are recorded every day by video cameras at various places for various reasons.