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The Great Pretenders

That injured customer may be a scam artist.

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This story appears in the July 1996 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The manager of a Road America convenience store in Lebanon, Indiana, knew enough to keep his eye on a customer who was wandering aimlessly around the back of the store one February morning. As the manager watched on the store's security mirrors, the customer sat down, slapped his hand against a display case and began screaming in pain. Alarmed, the manager called an ambulance and the police. The man was treated for minor injuries and released.

Two months later, Road America's carrier, Indiana Farmer's Insurance Agency, received a bill for $60,000 from a hospital in Nigeria, claiming the customer had been treated there for extensive injuries. The customer demanded payment through numerous phone calls, even after the company denied the claim.

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