In recent years, the state of California has devoted a lot of manpower and legislation to combatting workers’ compensation fraud. This type of fraud costs the tax payers millions of dollars, and it is important to root it out whenever possible. Employers should also be vigilant in their attempts to recognize, report, and combat fraud. With the advancement of technology and the pervasive presence of social media in most Americans’ lives, these can be used by employers as an effective tool to help spot and prove workers’ compensation fraud.
Wearable technology has become very popular and many people choose to use these in their personal lives. Fitbits and other step counters provide the wearers not only with information about steps taken, but some of the more advanced models also provide information about calories burned, heart rate, and sleep patterns. This information is in turn typically reported and stored in an app on the user’s smart phone. If an employee is reporting an inability to walk or perform vigorous physical activity, obtaining the history recorded by the employee’s fitness tracker during discovery could be an excellent way to demonstrate that he or she is not actually as injured as he or she claims.
Social media can also provide important insight. People often tend to “over share” on their profiles, discussing work outs, medical appointments, and vacations. All of this information can be compiled through discovery and used to show that while an employee may be claiming to be unable to walk comfortably, he or she “checked-in” at a 5K the weekend before.
In addition to worker fraud, provider fraud can also be better detected using technology. Using data analytics, insurance firms and law enforcement can detect certain red flags such as “cookie cutter” treatments being prescribed for every patient, a high incidence of drug prescriptions, and treatment regimens that are not consistent with the type or severity of a worker’s injury. A worker may not be aware at all of this sort of fraud, and without using technology to obtain a better overall understanding of a provider’s patterns of treatment, this type of fraud would be much more difficult to detect.
Fraud is a very serious problem in workers’ compensation, and employers should take steps to make sure that fraud is not occurring in their cases. Call us today at (714) 516-8188 and let us help you make a plan to deal with fraud and talk about how to identify it and defend against it.