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Automobile crashes a rising issue in S.C.

Officials in South Carolina say a rising number of staged automobile crashes are becoming a problem in the state. South Carolina had 223 insurance claims in 2014 suspected of being staged accidents, which was nearly triple the number of that type of claim from four years earlier.

The problem continued at the same pace in 2015 when some 118 questionable claims thought to staged wrecks were recorded in the first six months of the year, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The state ranks in the Top 10 for suspected fraud per 100,000 population for all types of insurance.

Last year, four full-time State Law Enforcement Division agents were assigned to investigate insurance fraud, which was double the number from the previous year. But the South Carolina insurance fraud unit budget of $354,000 pales in comparison to North Carolina and Virginia with budgets of $2.8 million and $5.3 million, respectively.

The Tar Heel State has 20 insurance fraud investigators, according to the 2016 S.C. Insurance Fraud Division report.

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