July 7, 2009                                                         Contact:Lucas Hamilton

Commissioner Lindeen Warns Insurance Agents, Brokers About Scam Artists Posing as State Employees


      Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen warns Montana licensed insurance agents and brokers to beware of a scam targeting them.
      
      Lindeen’s office has received reports from multiple other states that individuals have been calling licensed insurance agencies and representing themselves as employees of the state Commissioners of Insurance. These individuals, pretending to be agency employees, have requested payment for a penalty fee. The same individuals also requested that the insurance agencies provide credit card and social security information over the telephone to make the penalty payment and to avoid cancellation of their license.
      
      “These scams often travel from state to state, so it’s a good time to remind people to safeguard their personal information,” Lindeen said. “We want to actively give people the information they need to avoid being taken by this type of con artist.”
      
      Commissioner Lindeen warns all agents and brokers that these individuals are not employees of the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance and are attempting to scam insurance agencies for financial gain.
      
      “It is not the policy of my office to request credit card information or assess penalties over the phone,” Lindeen said. “If you receive a telephone call requesting this information, or information such as your bank account or social security number, do not provide the caller with any personal information. Contact your local law enforcement agency.”
      
      They also should contact the local law enforcement agency as well as the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, State Auditor’s Office at 406.444.2040, toll-free at 800.332.6148 or www.csi.mt.gov
      
      Enforcement officials are actively investigating this scam in several states including California, Colorado, Nevada and Oklahoma.