Study: Fear of rejection drives fraudsters

If you’ve ever wondered what motivates people to commit fraud, a new study suggests a surprisingly simple answer: fear of rejection.

Insurance companies may be able to mitigate the high costs associated with fraudulent claims by letting people down a little easier during the claims rejection processes, according to Frontiers Blog

Those who commit fraud tend to be driven by emotions rather than deliberative thought. Researchers in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands discovered participants who filled out mock insurance claims reported negative emotions after being rejected. The researches found these results over the course of more than two years studying the phenomena, suggesting the negative emotions associated with rejection can have long-lasting effects. The participants were more likely to falsely inflate subsequent claims even when there was no financial incentive to do so.

The researchers added that by having clear explanations for rejected claims, insurance companies could soften feelings of rejection and prevent future fraud.

“If we understand when people tend to behave dishonestly and commit fraud, we can construct the environment in a way that people are encouraged to behave honestly rather than deceptively,” Sophie Van Der Zee, researcher at the University of Cambridge and lead author of the study told Frontiers Blog. “Seeing as the detection of deceit and fraud is very difficult, prevention is better than cure.”

Fraud experts have previously tried to understand why people commit fraud by studying the characteristics of both victims and criminals. Most payers—including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services—have focused their fraud prevention efforts on improving predictive analytics using claims data.

- read the Frontier Blog post

- here’s the study