By Charles V. Tjatindi
The Erongo Police have warned insurance companies to be on the lookout for fraudulent claims from residents.
The police noted an increase in cases of housebreaking being reported to them, with at least 21 such cases between end of November 2007 and the first week of January this year.
But what raised suspicions, said Deputy Commissioner Festus Shilongo of the Erongo Police, is that most of the cases that were reported to the police had taken place months before.
“Why would you wait for two months before reporting a case of housebreaking and burglary? We suspect that these people are trying to con insurance companies into paying them out for their supposed stolen items,” he said.
When cases are reported intentionally late, the deputy commissioner said, it is always difficult to follow up on them as all evidence would have been lost. He noted that the police suspect residents are aware of this and use it deliberately to launch fraudulent insurance claims.
“All that the insurance companies need as proof of the supposed burglary is a police docket number. So they get the number and proceed to claim immediately,” said Shilongo.
The deputy commissioner also revealed that most residents when reporting their cases to the police related that they were merely doing it for insurance sake, and that the police need not investigate the cases.
Shilongo therefore urged insurance companies in the region to consult the police for verification of claims before paying out the claimants.
Shilongo urged residents to abstain from such activities, as it is a crime punishable by law. In order to prevent losses of furniture and other household appliances, residents are further encouraged to exercise due care and consideration before leaving their homes.
“It is your duty to make sure that you have ensured enough security at your house, and that all your belongings are safe,” noted Shilongo.
According to Shilongo, some items that were recovered by the police and which were reported stolen remain unclaimed for a long time.
Items that seem to be the target of this latest alleged scam in the region include electronic equipment such as computers, laptops, DVDs and cellular phones.