Those working on the problem of auto insurance fraud in Ontario may have more support from the public than they might realize. A survey conducted by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) found that 75 per cent of those with auto insurance surveyed by the regulator believe that auto insurance fraud is prevalent in Ontario. More, 40 per cent believe it could happen to them.
The vast majority, they add, 82 per cent of those polled in November 2022, agree that auto insurance fraud is increasing the cost of their premiums. Of those surveyed, 76 per cent say consumers can play a role in preventing such fraud from occurring.
To help, FSRA launched a new public education campaign about how to report auto insurance fraud as their survey also found that 85 per cent do not recall ever seeing any publicly available information on auto insurance fraud and how to prevent it; 66 per cent say not enough is being done to educate consumers and only 20 per cent say they know how to report auto insurance fraud.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), meanwhile says the majority may not even report fraud if it does happen to them. The FSRA survey says only 55 per cent said they were confident in their ability to identify auto insurance fraud if it was happening to them. Even if they were aware after the fact, RCMP figures suggest that only five to 10 per cent of victims report fraud at all.
The RCMP also says that Canadian consumers have a huge role to play to help stop fraudsters. “Education and awareness are the strongest line of defense against scams and fraud,” the RCMP states in its release of Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) statistics at the start of fraud month in March.
In 2022 alone, the CAFC says it received fraud and cybercrime reports totalling more than $530-million in victim losses, a 40 per cent increase from the $380-million in losses in 2021 – a figure they say was unprecedented at the time. In 2022, investment scams were listed as one of the top three frauds with the highest levels of reported victim losses.