Social media connects many people all across the world. Across the globe, there are nearly 2 billion monthly active Facebook users, with 300 million photos being uploaded each day. With such an enormous base, Facebook and other social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, or Flickr, can be incredibly useful tools when discussing workers’ compensation fraud.
Using social media for surveillance in workers’ compensation claims is a common and valuable strategy for detecting fraud. If you have a employee claiming a work-related injury that you believe may be fraudulent, it is certainly worth the time to take a look at their social media accounts.
If your employee is claiming a debilitating injury, you should be on the look out for activities that are inconsistent with their claimed injury. Look for vigorous exercise, intense yard work, or contact sports. In one case in 2014, an employee who was claiming to have a work-related injury posted bowling scores to his social media accounts. Further investigation revealed video surveillance of the employee bowling. This evidence was in direct contradiction of his testimony that he was not able to bowl since his injury. Ultimately the investigation revealed a number of other misrepresentations he had made to his doctors and his activity level. He was eventually charged with insurance fraud, and had to pay back his workers’ compensation benefits.
Regular “check ins” at the gym can be good evidence. Be cautious, however, as some injuries will require physical therapy, so indications that your employee is exercising does not automatically mean the claim is fraudulent. If you believe you have found evidence of fraud, you should turn over this evidence to your lawyer. He or she will know how to handle the fraud. Do not immediately confront your employee yourself, just allow your attorney to handle the situation.
Social media posts can be used as evidence at trial, so they should be saved if they may show evidence of fraud. Taking screen shots and saving these is a fast and easy way to preserve the evidence. Do not assume that the posts will be there at a later time, as the employee could delete the post at any time. It is better to create and maintain your own copy.
If you believe you may be a victim of fraud, contact me today at (714) 516-8188. We can review your case and your evidence and discuss your best next steps.