Insurance
Tata AIG Gen launches service for approving claims within four hours

The fast-track approval feature is available for existing as well as the new customers of Tata AIG General Insurance

Mumbai: Tata AIG General Insurance says it has introduced a service where it will settle health claims within four hours of filing for a claim, reports PTI.

 

“Normally it takes over six hours for claims approvals due to processing. We thought to tighten the procedure further and bring down the time to only four hours. We introduced this feature to prevent a medical emergency from becoming a financial burden on our customers,” Tata AIG General Senior Vice-President, Consumer Lines, Ramesh Ramani told PTI here.

 

This fast-track approval feature is available for existing customers as well as new ones, he added.

 

The private insurer is relatively a new entrant in the health space and launched its first product in the segment around 10 months ago.

 

“Being a new player in the health space we are planning to introduce innovative features and products that will not only establish our brand but also help us increase our customer base,” Ramani said.

 

The insurer, a joint venture between the Tata Group and American International Group Inc (AIG), has eight health policies under its portfolio. It has sold over 20,000 health polices between April-December 2012.

 

Going ahead, the private insurer is looking to launch segment-specific products under the health category.

 

“We already have filed few segment specific health products with the regulator Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA). We hope to launch our first such product in the next six months,” Ramani said.

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Nigerian held for lottery fraud in Delhi

The Nigerian along with his fellow nationals cheated people by creating a fake website of RBI and sent text messages to people randomly wherein they stated that they have won a lottery worth crores

New Delhi: A 36-year-old Nigerian national was arrested here for allegedly cheating people of lakhs of rupees by making them believe that they have won a lottery organised by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), reports PTI quoting Police.

 

Franklin Idiumo was apprehended following investigations into complaints about cheating a woman of Rs22 lakh after falsely telling her that she had won a lottery of Rs1.7 crore, said BS Jaiswal, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer).

 

The victim approached police on 12th January that she received a call that she has won a lottery and she was lured to deposit some money for claiming it.

 

She paid Rs22.38 lakh through various instalments in different HDFC Bank accounts as asked by the fraudsters.

 

During the said transaction, she got suspicious and reported it to the bank which froze the account in which she deposited the money, Jaiswal said.

 

The victim informed the police two days ago that she received a phone call from one person that her lottery amount that has been sent at her residence through one of their representatives.

 

“Idiumo came to her house at Rohini. He was intercepted at the spot along with an electronic safe. On opening, it was found to be containing small packets of black hard papers concealed in white cotton.

 

“Idiumo also could not produce any valid travel documents for his presence in India,” Jaiswal said.

 

Idiumo told police that he along with his fellow nationals cheated people by creating a fake website of the RBI and sent text messages to people randomly wherein they stated that they have won a large sum of money in a lottery.

 

The people who replied to their messages were asked to deposit a sum of money in an account number they told in exchange of a code that would enable them to facilitate the transfer of the said money in to their account.

 

Further they told them to deposit more money on one pretext or the other.

 

They used to befool people by giving them black paper and convince them that these are defaced US dollars which can be brought into real form by applying special chemical, Jaiswal said.

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Internet hoaxes are a new fact of life

Internet hoaxes have spawned a number of websites that do nothing but shoot them down. For consumers of the Internet, it means maintaining a healthy dose of scepticism, and not believing everything you read

Lies produced and spread on the Internet have been a staple of online life for years now, but have mostly remained in the background. However, one spectacular hoax burst into full view last week, rocking the collegiate sports world.

 

Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te’o, the runner-up for last year’s Heisman Trophy, had been cited for his emotional courage by remaining on the gridiron despite the reported early autumn deaths of both his beloved grandmother and girlfriend within 24 hours. The grandmother was real but it turns out, the girlfriend never existed.

 

In numerous interviews with the sporting press during Notre Dame's undefeated season, Te’o spoke in great detail about the young woman and Stanford grad, who he said had tragically died of leukaemia 12th September. Now, he says he only engaged with her online, and it was revealed last week she never existed.

 

Internet’s dark side

While this sensational and bizarre story has yet to fully play out, it’s a reminder of the Internet’s dark side—its ability to transmit completely erroneous information with a perplexing degree of credibility. One sees it in forwarded emails and Facebook posts. Someone receives a message that is either misinformed or an outright hoax and passes it on as gospel. Soon, people accept it as truth.

 

“Folks have a real tendency to believe much of the information online as they feel anything published must have some competency as many have thought in the non-digital world,” Marcus P Zillman, an author and expert on Internet hoaxes, told ConsumerAffairs. “Many have never experienced an educational endeavour of learning what misinformation is and how it truly affects society in today’s New Economy.”

 

Debunking hoaxes

Internet hoaxes have spawned a number of websites that do nothing but shoot them down. Snopes.com describes itself as a “reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumours, and misinformation.” In one example, it takes on the Darwin Awards, which were a subject of a popular circular email a decade ago.

 

The Darwin Awards were a series of news items detailing the death of some person who died as the result of incredibly stupid behaviour. Most readers accepted these as fact.

 

“As is the norm for such Internet circulated lists, Darwin Awards-2006 email is a mixed bag,” Snopes editors write. “There are some actual incidents, accurately chronicled, one that we know is an out and out fake, and a handful of others that we can’t yet authoritatively prove or disprove. Interestingly, while this compilation purports to be from 2006, all of its entries date from 1995 through 1998.”

 

The emails, the editors concluded, were authored not by a Darwin Awards Committee but by persons unknown.

 

Brett Christensen, of the Australian website HoaxSlayer.com, says people tend to accept information they receive online because it comes from someone they trust. But in many cases, he says, it plays on their prejudices.

 

“Hoaxes often cater to preconceived ideas held by the recipient,” Christensen said. “If a hoax message seems to confirm a person's views on religion, politics or general perception of the world, he or she is perhaps more apt to send it on without investigating its claims. In other words, if you really want to believe it, you might tend to overlook or excuse any logical inconsistencies or suspect claims that a hoax message contains.”

 

Romance scams

Perhaps nowhere are Internet hoaxes more devastating than in affairs of the heart. It happens all the time on online dating sites, where a relationship begins without a face-to-face meeting—many times with painful consequences.

 

Over the years ConsumerAffairs has received a large number of reports from dating site users who became emotionally involved with someone online, only to find out they were being scammed. David, of Loveland, Colorado, said he fell for a romance scam when he thought he was helping a young Russian woman stranded in a foreign country.

 

“Since then I have been approached on every dating site I have joined by supposed women who are stranded in Nigeria or Ghana,” David wrote in a ConsumerAffairs post. “When the dating sites are notified they are scammers they do nothing about it.”

 

Lately, dating sites have done more to warn users about possible scams, and a reading of the most recent ConsumerAffairs posts suggests users are now more savvy. Patsy, of San Antonio, Texas, writes that she spotted an attempted scam on Match.com right off the bat.

 

“He said he was from Germany, working on a project in Nigeria,” Patsy wrote. “I come from a German family and the accent was definitely not German, another red flag. So, I continued to play along and last night he asked for a loan of $600.00, I declined. He wasn’t too happy about that, so I just signed off.”

 

Cat-fishing

These scams, of course, have a profit motive. The people attempting to fool unsuspecting love-seekers are hoping for a payday. But in recent years there is a new breed of Internet imposter, who may or may not be at the centre of the current Manti Te'o firestorm.

 

These are people who create identities and try to fool people just for fun. There’s even a name for it—‘Cat-fishing’—named after an MTV series (http://www.mtv.com/shows/catfish/series.jhtml) that outs Cat-fishers. High profile individuals, such as athletes, appear to be common targets.

 

A ‘Cat-fisher’ will fabricate a profile and take someone’s picture from their Facebook account to trick their victim into thinking they are someone who desires a relationship with them. Why they do it is anyone’s guess. But profit does not seem to be a motive.

 

Here are three questions to ask yourself if you think you are being Cat-fished:

 

  • Why won’t this person engage in a video chat with me?
  • Why won’t this person agree to a face-to-face meeting?
  • Is this person too good to be true?

 

If there are not good answers to these questions, chances are you're being played as the victim of an Internet hoax.

 

As for the media’s role in the Manti Te’o hoax, Christensen says it might be excused in this instance for swallowing the fabricated story hook, line and sinker, but in others, he sees it as very culpable.

 

“For example, a number of media outlets reported on the claims that the Google Street View car killed a donkey in Botswana,” he said. “However, even some fairly basic research by journalists writing these stories should have been enough to reveal that the claims were untrue.”

 

For consumers of the Internet, it means maintaining a healthy dose of scepticism, and not believing everything you read.

 

(Courtesy: ConsumerAffairs.com/ Mark Huffman)

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