SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Insurance fraud in Utah has quadrupled in the past five years.
Joe Christensen, director of the Utah Division of Insurance Fraud, says that by March, investigators had opened 548 insurance fraud cases since the 2004 fiscal year began July 1, 2003.
For fiscal 2003, they opened 522 cases and 175 cases for all of fiscal 2002.
The cost of the fraud gets spread to everyone when insurance companies increase their rates.
Experts says consumers can protect themselves better if they read the fine print in their policies.
Never sign blank insurance-claim forms.
Make sure an insurance company and agent are licensed by calling the state's insurance department at (801) 538-3800.
Be wary if a car suddenly pulls in front of you, forcing you to follow closely.
And if you get in an accident, stay clear of strangers who offer quick cash, free dinners or speak on behalf of a specific medical clinic, doctor or attorney. They could be part of a fraud ring.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)