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Surveillance By Insurance Companies Now Extends To Social Media

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Insurance companies are stepping up their surveillance activities – this time, they are watching what is being posted on social media networks. A New York women receiving workers’ comp benefits for alleged injuries bragged about her salary and her job on her Facebook page. She was caught and pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $9,000 in undeserved benefits.

We’ve reported on this before, but apparently it needs repeating: when you are on claim, whether it’s for a long term disability insurance claim, either private or ERISA, workers’ compensation, or any kind of personal injury, anything that you post online can and will be used against you.

Know that anything you post on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Zoom, or any of the rapidly expanding network of social media outlets is in the public eye. Ask yourself before you post: would I want this information broadcast on the evening news to a national audience? What would happen if what this post gets delivered to the email mailbox of an insurance company, a claims adjuster, or an investigator working on behalf of the insurance company?

Insurance companies have become sophisticated about social media and the Internet. Just as private investigators are hired by the insurance companies to conduct video surveillance, or as claims adjusters conduct field interviews, a new breed of social media specialists are now on the insurance company’s payroll. All they need to do is sit in front of a monitor, log onto the web, and start searching. Privacy blocks might delay the process, but not for long.

If you are in any stage of filing for a long term, or even for a short term, disability claim, whether private insurance or ERISA coverage, be extremely careful about what you post on any of the social media websites, even the lesser known ones. Consider that anything you post online – photos, videos, audio, content – will be found by the insurance company and will be examined for possible use as evidence against you.

The very act of posting may create serious problems. If you have filed a claim for total disability and medical reports prove that you are unable to perform daily activities of living, yet you are posting Tweets every fifteen minutes, the insurance company will try to prove that if you can Tweet, you can function. Don’t draw attention to yourself if you wish to protect your benefits.

If you have already posted more than you ought to have and you are concerned that the insurance company may be reviewing your claim as a result, call our office to learn how we can help.

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Frankel & Newfield does not currently handle any Social Security Disability Insurance claims.

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