Washington, D.C., September 1, 2011 – While Hurricane Irene left behind flooded towns, cities and communities, GEICO and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) want to warn drivers that a flood of fraud schemes may well be the next wave.
"GEICO is one of the largest auto insurers in the Northeast," said Nancy Pierce, vice president of claims. "We’re very grateful that none of our associates was personally harmed and we haven’t learned that any of our policyholders were injured."
Pierce knows what’s coming next and so does GEICO’s Special Investigations Unit director Steve Rutzebeck. There will be thousands of people who need vehicles and who may become unsuspecting fraud victims by buying vehicles with hidden damage.
Following Katrina, flooded cars were dumped on the market after some cosmetic repairs in an attempt to sell them for a quick profit.
"The best advice we can give people" said Rutzebeck, "is to always deal with a reputable company when buying a used car or getting a car repaired. Ask your friends, family and people you trust for a referral. Shy away from door-to-door solicitors or anyone who has a "deal or price that sounds too good to be true" because it probably is."
Rutzebeck reminds policyholders that they can report fraud at GEICO’s hotline number 1-800-824-5404 ext. 3313 or at GEICO’s website http://www.geico.com/auto/claims/fraudinvestigation.htm.
NICB provides drivers with a number of tips on how to avoid buying a washed-up vehicle.
Among those tips are:
- Choose a reputable car dealer.
- Inspect the vehicle for water stains, mildew, sand, and silt under the carpets, floor mats, headliner cloth and behind the dashboard.
- Check for recently shampooed carpet.
For more tips go to the NICB website. NICB also runs a toll-free fraud hotline at 1-800-835-6422.
GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the third-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the United States. GEICO provides millions of auto insurance quotes to U.S. drivers annually. The company is pleased to serve more than 11 million private passenger customers and insures more than 18 million vehicles (auto & cycle).
GEICO's online service center helps policyholders take care of policy sales, policy changes, claims reporting and to print insurance ID cards.
GEICO also provides insurance quotes on motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), travel trailers and motorhomes (RVs). Coverage for boats, life, homes and apartments is written by non-affiliated insurance companies and is secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Commercial auto insurance and personal umbrella protection are also available.
For more information, go to www.geico.com.