Israel’s auto insurance industry is facing a new wave of fraud and corruption, and many of its members are using government-issued credentials to get access to the industry’s sensitive data, a new report says.
The new scam has become increasingly common in the Israeli car insurance market, with some companies exploiting the government’s requirement to keep data secure and its lack of oversight over the sector.
The fraudster can steal sensitive data from insurance companies by obtaining government-issue credentials, the report by Israeli researchers shows.
The latest scam comes amid a new crackdown on fraud and abuse in the insurance industry in Israel, where an investigation into the industry found that the government has been unable to enforce its own rules for protecting confidential data.
The report, published on Thursday by the Israel Insurance and Finance Authority (IAF), said that the scam was being perpetrated by a group of fraudsters with forged government- and company-issued ID cards and the knowledge that they had government-owned credentials.
The scamsters also use government-provided credentials for personal, business and professional purposes, the researchers said.
They stole data from insurers in exchange for bribes, the IAF said, adding that the fraudsters used fake documents such as passports, driver’s licenses, social security numbers and military identification cards to access sensitive data.
“The fraudsters have also stolen data from private individuals who are not covered by the insurance network, including doctors, dentists, social workers, lawyers, university professors, teachers, and university employees,” the report said.
“They used government-branded ID cards to gain access to personal and business data, such as drivers’ license numbers, social media handles and other data.”
The frauds are targeting private citizens and people with high-profile social profiles, the authors said.
“For example, some of the frauds also used stolen government IDs to gain private access to private data that was not covered under the network,” the researchers wrote.
The IAF is currently investigating several cases in which private individuals were victims of the scam, including a woman who was forced to withdraw money from her account after being swindled of tens of thousands of shekels ($50,000).
The scam was also recently exposed when the IAAF’s internal watchdog issued a warning against fraudulent insurance applications that did not disclose the identity of the insurer.
The government-regulated auto insurance market is a $6 billion industry in which many of the world’s largest insurance companies are based.
The Israeli government has introduced new legislation to regulate the industry, including stricter oversight of its own industry.
The Israel Insurance Agency (IAA) is responsible for supervising the sector and ensuring that its data is kept secure, and it is responsible to the government for the data protection.IAAF officials declined to comment on the report, saying that the issue is subject to an internal investigation.
The IAF did not respond to a request for comment from Al Jazeera.
In Israel, insurance companies can only operate with a minimum of one security company and that is the IAA.
The watchdog is responsible only for the security of the data it manages and does not have the power to revoke or modify the information it collects, said the IAEA.
The authors of the new report, from the Jerusalem-based think tank Institute for Security Studies, said that many of their data was not properly protected.
“In general, these types of frauds take advantage of the security issues inherent in the existing insurance system, and are therefore not covered in a single regulatory framework,” they wrote.
“The IAEAs regulations are not sufficient to adequately address the issue of data security in the car insurance sector.”