Methods of defrauding insurance companies are diverse, as are the ways of investigating them. Recent trends show evidence that insurance fraud in wealthy nations are increasing, with many enforcement agencies running public awareness campaigns to deter potential frauds and appeal to the public to report any suspicious activity.
One of the most common forms of insurance fraud is the exaggeration of injuries resulting from an accident. Such exaggerations are made with the intention of receiving a higher award or settlement on a claim. Since many of these injuries can be difficult to quantify from a "loss perspective", (psychological and soft tissue), investigators are retained to establish the validity of these conditions. Often surveillance is used to verify these claim.
Another lesser known fraud, are claims on an insurance policy for injuries sustained before the policy came into effect. For example, in a vehicle accident, a person may claim to have sustained a debilitating back injury. Upon closer investigation, details are uncovered that the injury had been sustained in an incident some months or even years before. Very often insurance companies and investigators will seek to find past medical reports to eliminate this possibility, as well as searching for proof of previous claims or accidents.
There are also many forms of fraud involving property, some of which receive more attention in the media due to higher monetary value of the policy or notarity of the person or property associated with that claim. An example would be a person with valuable assets (property, for example) who deliberately destroys it, often through arson, with the intention of cashing in on the value of their insurance policy. Another form of high value fraud would be an art collector who reports a peice of art or collection stolen - cashing in on the insurance claim and reselling the art piece on the black market.