Facebook Connection Spoils Con for Insurance Fraudsters

Four Sacramento, California women are suspected of working together to defraud auto insurance companies of more than $37,000. How did they get caught? Like so many other criminals in the 21st century, their Facebook pages.

Police say that 23 year old Krystelmaree Marquez rented a U-Haul van on December 11, 2011 and purchased extra insurance on it. The next day, she was driving the truck and got into an accident with a Toyota Yaris carrying three other women. All four women claimed crash-related injuries, and the woman driving the Yaris, 40 year old Angela Medeiros claimed she didn’t know any of the parties involved in the crash. One problem, though, ladies: insurance investigators have access to Facebook, too. The California Department of Insurance found that all four women were friends on Facebook, calling into question the legitimacy of the entire accident.

Three of the women were arrested on suspicion of fraud charges, while the fourth, Marquez, has not been located. They could face two to five years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine. The lesson to would-be criminals is, as always, watch what you put online. You never know who is going to find it. Social media sites like Facebook have ushered in the era of online oversharing, and law enforcement agencies are all too willing to take a peek at what people are saying, especially if it will help them solve a case.

Recommended Resources

BitDefender Safego is a Facebook application you can install that will scan your News Feed and help keep you safe from scams on Facebook.

PRIVATE WiFi® is a Personal VPN that encrypts everything you send and receive. Don’t access Facebook from a public WiFi hotspot without it.

Action Alert | Free Parental Control offers a 100% free Internet safety solution designed for parents. There is also a Maximum Protection option for parents that need a more advanced set of tools.

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