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An Illustrated Guide to Fake Certificates

This blog has addressed the topic of fake certificates in the past. These fraudulent documents happen in nearly ever industry, but are most commonly provided by contractors to homeowners. A homeowner recently attempted to file a claim with Hayes for work done by a tree trimmer. The tree trimmer provided a certificate of insurance to the homeowner from Hayes, using an old certificate from when they were insured by Hayes years prior. This fraudulent certificate provides a wealth of information on how to spot fakes. From The Top The certificate date appears to be in a slightly larger font that the rest of the type on the page. It also could be more centered.  Most likely, the perpetrator scanned the certificate and edited it without checking the font size. The Contact Name shows a department name rather than a contact name at the agency. The phone number is also invalid. The number listed should be a valid number for the agency. Insurer B on this particular certificate does not actually do business in California. KEMI is a Kentucky based insurance carrier. The Middle There are a couple of things wrong with the middle section. To the left, there are handwritten Xs in the boxes. While this may have been common in the past, technology today makes checking a box as easy as clicking a radio button in the software. Many policies may have a Per Project Aggregate and a Per Location Aggregate on the same policy, but the certificate will usually only indicate one or the other. The middle box shows the same policy number for the General Liability,...
Fake Insurance Certificates – What Can You Do?

Fake Insurance Certificates – What Can You Do?

You are a contractor with a long list of contract requirements for your subcontractors. The most important item on that list besides tax forms is the insurance certificate. It is the one you have to chase some subs for, even resorting to withholding payment to get it. Technology has made getting insurance certificates easier than ever. However, new advances also make it even easier to produce fraudulent certificates. Here are some ways to know if the certificate you’ve provided is valid, and how to prevent your business from receiving invalid certificates. Anyone Can Fake A Certificate Any business can pass off a fake certificate under the right (or wrong) circumstances, even subcontractors you may consider to be honest to a fault.  Things happen, and businesses may find themselves in a bind.  Consider these scenarios: A subcontractor that you’ve worked with before runs into money troubles. His insurance lapses due to nonpayment, but he needs the work, so he doctors an old certificate to look current. The employee of a former subcontractor goes out on his own and can’t afford insurance yet, so he uses a copy of the certificate from his former employer to provide proof of coverage. Just a few keystrokes on his computer and he’s suddenly “insured”. He’ll buy coverage when he can afford it. A subcontractor purchases a bare bones policy and doesn’t want to pay for those fancy extras like primary & noncontributory endorsements or an additional insured, so he takes the certificate from his insurance agent and adds that wording in after-the-fact to meet your contract requirements. No one on that list is completely...