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Facebook Can Be Your Friend; Just Don’t Be Facebook’s

May 29th, 2013

On several occasions, your humble blogger has gently suggested against nurturing that fear of social media, especially Facebook, and instead urged you to use it to help nab fraudsters.  If a creeps can stealthily cyber-stalk ex-girlfriends and secret crushes, why can’t adjusters and defense attorneys use the same tactics to find out when our total PD applicant is developing his Mixed Marital Arts persona?  We’ve seen Facebook used effectively, and Twitter has been used in much the same way.

The story I bring you today is that of an Ohio woman, who “pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud after her Facebook postings helped prove she was working while collecting benefits for a workplace injury.”  She was ordered to repay $61,000 in ill-gotten benefits (although it does not appear that the cost of the investigation, prosecution, or future monitoring and enforcement of this order is to be paid by anyone other than Ohio’s taxpayers).

Basically, she was submitting payroll documents from a non-existent company to qualify for wage-loss benefits (Ohio’s gap between a subsequent job and pre-injury earnings).  In fact, she was posting pictures to her Facebook profile which reflected her employment at “Purrfect Paws Grooming Boutique,” and failed to report her actual wages.

If you’re particularly curious, the woman’s Facebook page is still up (at least at the time of this posting).

It really doesn’t take that long to become adept at manipulating Facebook or Twitter to allow access to various profiles or the information that the injured worker is willingly shouting to the world.  One can hardly claim that the vows and curses shouted from the top of a mountain were meant to fall everywhere except an adjuster’s ears.

So, crack open your old highschool yearbook and track down that one that got away (be prepared to explain this exercise to your significant other – any injuries sustained may or may not be compensable under your employer’s workers’ compensation policy).  Once you’re able to track down this missing love, you’re probably skilled enough to check the doings of any applicant who has to brag about his or her fraud on Facebook or Twitter or any of the other social media.


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