You're not paranoid if they really are stalking you, right?
It turns out that insurance companies may check Facebook and other social media sites, looking for evidence of fraud. The concept isn't completely new. We've also discussed divorce lawyers and private investigations searching for evidence of infidelity on Facebook and other social media.
The Los Angeles Times profiled Nathalie Blanchard, who took a medical leave in early 2008 from her job while she struggled with depression. She started receiving monthly disability benefits from her insurer. However, after one year, the payments suddenly stopped.
It turns out that her insurance company discovered recent photos of her enjoying herself on the beach and hanging out at a pub, and determined that she was not depressed and therefore ready to return to work, said Tom Lavin, Blanchard's attorney. The insurance company had checked Facebook to monitor fraud.
"They just assumed from the pictures that she was a fraud," Lavin said, the LA Times reports, "without investigating further before terminating Nathalie's benefits."
Blanchard cried foul and sued her insurance company, contending that they failed to contact her doctor and never informed her that they were cutting off payments. The case is schedule to go to trial in January 2012.
The insurance company has denied Blanchard's Facebook allegations, saying "We would not deny or terminate a valid claim solely based on information published on websites such as Facebook."
It's definitely a wakeup call for everyone that is using social media. They may very well be watching you.
- Insurers mine social networks for fraud (UPI)
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- Buying Car Insurance (FindLaw)