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Cadishead Computers
04-10-2010, 10:37 PM
Hi everyone, I'm wondering if you could please assist me with this issue.

Basically I run a small computer repair business in my area. I have a customer who I think is attempting to pull a fast one over a insurance claim.

He apparently had a flood last year, got a friend to sort out his electrics, and alarm issues, and mentioned he had 'all this computer gear which is flooded, do you know any computer engineers?'. My friend mentioned me, and this guy contacted me, and told me his issues.

He had around 5 pc's, and other assorted hardware, which he wanted writing off, and being issued with a engineers report, for insurance purposes. He brought round all the pc's and "OLD" hardware, for testing.

Each pc I tested was fully working, so returned them to him in the same state as they came in. (I made a note of all serial numbers, and hardware inside, and still have it in my database).

The "OLD" hardware, I could not test, as I did not have the associated hardware to test each, ie socket 7 boards, needing a cpu, memory, pcmcia modem cards etc..

Now my 'customer' told me, that all this hardware was worth a fortune to him, as the prices were astronimcal. (which they were many years ago).

There was also other items of hardware, including a pixeltec? sp camera, and hardware, which I have no knowledge of, dont know how to test the items, and told him so.

He said, oh its ok, they were all inside, and got flooded, just write them off, and I will pay you! Major alarm bells started ringing..

Fast forward 12 months, to last week, when he contacted me again, stating that hes only got another 4 weeks, before the insurance claim is closed, as nothing has been done about it.

He asks me, if I still have the other items of hardware, I told him no, that everything was disposed of approx 6 months ago. I tried umpteen times to contact you, via email, no reply. Mobile (changed no), landline went dead, and could not hold the items any longer, as they were all taking up space in the workshop. He didnt like this, but had no choice in the matter.

He then said, do you have the pixeltec camera etc, as I know someone who will give me 1500 for it all, the insurance will be paying me 3000, and I will give you 500 from it, just for that alone!. This 'someone' would integrate it into their systems. Again I told him no, I dont have anything, and what your saying is tantamount to insurance fraud, of which I'm, having no part of.

He then contacts me last week with some more items, which were 'flooded'. Asking 'Can you send me a copy of your letter headed paper, together with what you would put down on the insurance report, I will do all the legwork for you, email it back over to you, you sign it, post it back, and when im paid, ill give you something out of it!.'

Again major bells ringing..

I tell him, that I cannot, and will not do that, as I'm not going to get myself into this kind of situation. He agrees with this, and then sends me a spreadsheet of the items, which he wants writing off..

The total 'new' cost of these items, is in the region of 6000, as its all like for like.

This is where it gets interesting..

example, he has listed
Desktop HP 5750 s/n xxx Athlon 64bit x2, dual core, 4gb ram, 500gb drive, litescribe dvdrw, nvidia geforce 8400gs graphics card.

In place of this, he wants a HP RP5700, Intel Dual core E6400 2gb, 250gb drive. 979.95 Together with an extra 2Gb ram 64.61, a Radeon HD4650 Graphics card 77.02, HP Litescribe writer 34.08, and an extra HP 500Gb drive 74.03. Multiply this by 4, and its a huge cost..

I rang him earlier, asking what speed the cpu is inside the machines, and he tells me, oh i dont know, its on the hp website.. (as theres a list of approx 8 cpu's which could of been fitted), and comes back with a athlon 3.8ghz d/c. I tell him that there is no 8400gs listed as spec on that machine, and he tells me, oh it must be the big one at the end..

I mention that the costs of each additional piece of hardware, he wants including is far in excess of what any customer can purchase it for, and he tells me, that it has a HP memory stick inside it, and I want it to have another HP memory stick inside, the costs are what are on the website at the moment!

There are other assorted items, too, ie Yamaha CRW-f1sx CDRW external SCSI., where he has put down a costing of 349.95 for!. These can be purchased for as little as 20-30 admitadly on ebay, but all this is causing me major issues.

Another thoughts just come to me, last week, in the conversation we had, I mentioned, that if the pc's were to be disposed of, then personally I would data wipe all details off the hard drive.

He asked me how much that would be, and I quoted him at 25 per machine, as I use 3-5 passes, it takes time etc.. to be told '25 sounds a bit too much money for that, can you make it 20 each, and add it to the quote, also how much does it cost to dispose of an item?', I told him its 5 per item, ie tower, monitor, keyboard mouse etc. 'Oh cool, add that to the list too'.

I am thinking of writing this email off to him, and see what he says..

Hi xxx

I've had another look, and thoughts about the pc list etc.

The only way I could possibly do anything regarding these items, it to physically have them here, check the specs of each, ensure that every item is completely faulty, then could do a insurance report etc, together with comparative costings.

I can't simply do a insurance report, and write them all off without seeing each item in question.

The reason being, I do a lot of insurance work, for all the insurance companies, and should anything be amiss with your claim, then I do not want to be party of any allegations, or false claims.

If you would like to drop the machines, and assorted hardware off, then I will gladly go through them, and check everything prior to writing the report out for you.

Now does this sound a little 2 faced of me?, or should I simply tell him to go forth. This claim sounds like it's going to run into the 000's, and the majority of it looks false.

I've been seriously thinking of telling him to go forth, I have worked long and hard to get where I am now, and am not willing to risk anything. My reputation is worth far more, then what he is asking me to do.

But im also thinking of trying to get hold of his insurance details, and then speaking to a claims manager, as I really do think this is a major insurance fraud..


Judging by the comments he has mentioned to me, and the spreadsheet given to me, then as far as I can see, it is blatent insurance fraud. I'm not saying that every single piece of hardware or equipment is faulty, and damaged by the 'flood', but for there to be so much of it, and from what I have tested working something is amiss.

Any thoughts??.. Sorry for the ramblings, I have typed this up whilst its still fresh in my mind..

Any questions, please dont hesitate to ask..

thanks for your time, and for reading war and peace.. part iv ;)

be safe

cadishead computers

hardtoremember
04-10-2010, 11:17 PM
My opinion is very simple. You do not and will not be any part of any fraud of any sort for any reason. Tell him to move along and make sure you have all of your notes ALONG with his bill handy.

It seems like a sure bet that anything you send to him will be altered. You are much much better off to remain OUT of this situation.

I would drop him immediately and make it extremely clear to him that you will not now nor ever be involved with him.

J-Bob
04-10-2010, 11:22 PM
Bad news bears, keep away from this fellow.

A shady character like this will end up getting you in trouble- you hang around (or talk to) him enough and the police could go 'why didn't you report him to someone?' [or the like]

Cut the cord!

Cuban_Tech
04-10-2010, 11:58 PM
Keep that guy away from you; he will sink your boat if you keep him around. Insurance fraud is big no no.

IAMPC
04-11-2010, 12:49 AM
Next time he contact you, tell him you will report him to his insurance agency if he keeps contacting you. End of story. I'm not sure why you even keep in touch with him.

vdub12
04-11-2010, 03:20 AM
My opinion is you already know to much about his intent and should report him to keep yourself out of trouble.

Alan22
04-11-2010, 03:36 AM
My thoughts....if you're an honest person, do the honest thing. If you're not an honest person, then do whatever you want. From your post it appears you are honest and know what's the right thing to do, which is to basically cut him loose.

But, now you may be in an interesting situation. What are the laws in your area concerning the knowledge of a potential insurance crime and any obligations to report it? I don't even know what the laws are in my area concerning this and would most likely seek legal advice just to protect myself. Remember, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Carus
04-11-2010, 07:53 AM
your reply sounds entirely appropriate, you cant sign off on anything untill you have deemed it damaged, that is being honest, and imo that is how you should handle yourself

Eddie
04-11-2010, 03:37 PM
Run for the hills! :mad:

iisjman07
04-11-2010, 03:43 PM
Run for the hills!

Yup, did you know they're alive with the sound of music?

Cambridge PC Support
04-11-2010, 03:49 PM
Yup, did you know they're alive with the sound of music?

and apparently with songs that they've sung for a thousand years

edgepcs
04-11-2010, 04:46 PM
I agree with most of the responses above. I would just say that you are unable to help him due to not wanting to get caught up in insurance fraud, but check to make sure you are not required by law to report him. Of course you could just report him if you want anyway ;) He sounds like a really shady fella!

Cadishead Computers
04-12-2010, 02:48 PM
Hi guys.. I just wanted to say thanks to all who have replied.

I have also come to the same conclusion, in so much, that I have emailed my customer, asking for this insurance company details (he thinks so I can finalise the report).. I've since rang the insurance co concerned, spoke to the claims manager for his claim. Given ALL the info I have on the guy, sent them copies of all the associated emails, back and forth etc.. To say they are thankful is a complete understatement..

They are now going to launch a full investigation into this claim, and asked if its possible, if I would mind meeting up with the claims investigator, give them a statement, and if required go even further. They mentioned that depending on the outcome of the investigation, they may even go further and get the police involved, as it sounds like this is major fraud.

So now, im waiting for the claims investigator to get in touch, and arrange a meeting to speak to them, and see what happens..

I will keep you all posted with further developments..

Thanks again for all the help. I did come to the same conclusion before posting, just wanted the backup, to see if it was the right thing to do i suppose..

cheers

be safe

nige
cadishead computers :)

Tristan
04-12-2010, 04:16 PM
Sounds like you did the right thing.

Above all, keep your character above reproach. It's your best asset.

hardtoremember
04-12-2010, 04:39 PM
Sounds like you did the right thing.

Above all, keep your character above reproach. It's your best asset.

Absolutely! You really did do the right thing. I don't think there is a tech on this board who wouldn't agree.

Johnthegeek
04-12-2010, 05:39 PM
In addition to everything else.

If the insurance company ever asks any questions he will blame you.

JustMe
04-12-2010, 07:24 PM
Its good that you did the right thing.

Just be aware that when the insurance company starts questioning him and he starts to "feel the heat" that he will probably think that you "ratted him out". Start thinking about answers to possible angry questions and accusations from him. But most of all start thinking "safety". You never know if this guy gets crazy from the heat.

Be safe. Good luck.

breadtrk
04-16-2010, 07:45 PM
A very simple get lost would have sufficed. Now you risk finding your shop burned down.

Sleep well.

inspektabrain
04-16-2010, 08:31 PM
A very simple get lost would have sufficed. Now you risk finding your shop burned down.

Sleep well.


Being from a rough neighborhood, I was kind of thinking this myself. But now that I read it, I can't say I've heard of many violent fraud violators. I remember this guy that would try to steal peoples checks so he could get all kinds of things. Eventually he stole from the wrong person and ended up with a crooked nose and some jail time.

I think from the beginning, assuming I had an idea of what was going on, i would have just simply told him get lost and been done. But if this was someone who hid it well enough that I didn't catch on right away, then I could be an "accomplice" even if i dropped him then and there. I had already done some of the work, so maybe I have a cut in the deal.

Maybe it was a smart thing to turn him in. On the street an a$$ kicking is (although illegal) not going to ruin my life/career. In my business, fraud is more serious and usually involves a lot more jail time, not to mention that I'd kick that dudes a$$ for involving me.

IMHO - You did the right thing. Make sure you show up for court if they subpoena you. You can go to jail for missing it. And hopefully this guy is being legit and just has bad memory or is dumb or something. That way no court at all!! :)

Cadishead Computers
04-22-2010, 10:12 PM
Thanks once again for the input.

I can now say, that I have met with the insurance investigator, gone through a complete statement with them.

Now I can say, this 'claim' is in the region of 50k!!.. They (the insurance co), admit that yes he has had a flood, and yes some damage may of been done to IT equipment, but for the amount of items that have been damaged, its a case of

a), hes a trader, and hasnt told them
b), hes going for a major fraud

At the time of the meeting I had with them, they had yet to receive a insurance report from any company regarding the damaged items. The guy only had 2 weeks in which to send in the report, else part in this case most of the claim would be disallowed.

I was asked if it came to it, would I be a witness in any prosecutions, and I said yes I would, as I have nothing to hide.

When it became clear of his intentions, thats when I decided to do something about it.

So see how it goes..

thanks once again to everyone who has had some input into this thread.

be safe
nige :)

Alan22
04-22-2010, 10:56 PM
Thanks for the update. So, this guy had some damage from a flood, thought he would see a big payday by claiming more damage than there actually was and tried to make you a part of the crime. What a moron.

JustMe
04-22-2010, 10:57 PM
Good luck! Be safe and know you've done well!:D

profbisson
04-23-2010, 12:48 AM
My opinion is you already know to much about his intent and should report him to keep yourself out of trouble.

I would not even touch this with a 10-ft pole! If he's caught for fraud, you can bet that you will be implicated for conspiring with him for fraud.

Don't do it! The extra money is not worth it! :eek:

MrUnknown
04-23-2010, 08:09 AM
I would not even touch this with a 10-ft pole! If he's caught for fraud, you can bet that you will be implicated for conspiring with him for fraud.

Don't do it! The extra money is not worth it! :eek:

??? He hasn't co-operated the entire time with any of his demands and never provided a report at the value he wanted. Not sure how that is conspiring with him.

It seems like he is working with the insurance company to prove he was trying to defraud them by inflating the value of his equipment.

Cadishead Computers
04-23-2010, 06:08 PM
??? He hasn't co-operated the entire time with any of his demands and never provided a report at the value he wanted. Not sure how that is conspiring with him.

It seems like he is working with the insurance company to prove he was trying to defraud them by inflating the value of his equipment.

I would also love to know, how I have been conspiring with him against the insurance company..

Re working with the ins co.. thats exactly what I have been doing. At no point in time, have I given this customer a report, yet alone one with the inflated costings.

When I first was given the initial hardware, 95% of it was fully functioning, therefore I was never going to write it off, and handed it all back to him. The other parts I was given, I could not test, due to either age of the parts, ie a socket 7 cpu, or a isa graphics card, and really old memory.., or I had no knowledge of the parts, ie the pixeltech camera..

Since the time I contacted his insurance company, I have been completely honest with them, and handed each and every scrap of info I have, including all my notes of calls etc. The claims investigator mentioned the evidence I provided is a godsend in turning a lot of this claim down.

Also the fact that he hasnt yet (least to my knowledge), got another IT firm to do the insurance report for him.

I would just like to say, thanks to everyone for the backup I have received over this.. the boss (mrs), said just do nothing, and dont get involved, but I couldnt leave it as it was..

Its a case of watch this space I think..

have a great weekend all
be safe
nige :)