The typical profile of a perpetrator of fraud has been that of trained con artist who plans his or her scheme in a calculated fashion. But a new study depicts insurance fraud not only as a sophisticated ring carried out by professionals but as an act often executed by mainstream insurance customers.The study, by Bermuda-based consulting and technology solutions provider Accenture, found that nearly one in four U.S. adults say that overstating the value of claims to insurance companies is acceptable, and more than one in 10 say they approve of submitting insurance claims for items that were never lost or damaged or for treatments that were not provided.

The survey, based on a random sample of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, examined consumer attitudes toward insurance fraud and found that two-thirds of respondents (66%) said that people are more likely to commit insurance fraud during an economic downturn than when the economy is strong. About half the respondents (49%) said that people commit insurance fraud because they can get away with it.

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