"JUST A FEW BASIC QUESTIONS"(AND ALSO DIGGING FOR DIRT....)
There are three basic reasons an insurance company will try to obtain a recorded statement as soon as possible after an auto accident, or a grocery store "slip and fall": (1) obtain the injured person's basic version of what happened; (2) find out what injuries were sustained. The first two reasons are legitimate. Beware of reason no. 3 however: convince the injured person to give up basic background information so the insurance company can search mammoth databases for any "dirt" they can find, such as your credit history. Ask yourself this: what does your credit history have to do with your completely torn rotator cuff or fractured ankle after colliding with a drunk driver?
DIVULGING YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IS THE KEY...
One of the main tools for fishing around in your medical or financial history getting the injured person to divulge his or her social security number. Here's how a client was "nudged" into divulging her social security number. Note the subtlety and the order of the questioning (answers omitted):
Can you just give me your first name and spell your last name?
How old are you?
What is your date of birth?
Are you married?
And what is your husband's first name?
And, for identification purposes, what's your Social Security Number?
"Identification purposes?" This is code and a trick for: "We want your social security number so we can do some fishing."
There are LOTS of reasons why you should NEVER give your SS number to an insurance company in this situation. Privacy and identity theft issues aside, do you think that the drunk driver's insurance company will divulge their driver's social security number to you if you ask for it? Not even for "identification purposes?"
Dealing with insurance companies on your own after an accident or collision is often a one way street, and you are not driving or in control of the car...