CRIME

Insurers deny claims based on questionable cell tower data

  • In this March 13, 2017 photo, a cell tower is seen through trees in North Andover, Mass. Insurance companies are using cellphone tower data to deny claims for stolen cars, burned homes and other mishaps, despite the information coming under question at criminal trials across the country. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    In this March 13, 2017 photo, a cell tower is seen through trees in North Andover, Mass. Insurance companies are using cellphone tower data to deny claims for stolen cars, burned homes and other mishaps, despite the information coming under question at criminal trials across the country. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)  (The Associated Press)

  • This August 2016 self-made photo shows Jaclyn Bentley, of Clinton, Iowa. In connection with a fire that destroyed her home in 2014, Bentley was acquitted in February 2017 of arson and insurance fraud charges, which she said stemmed from a flawed analysis of cellphone tower records. Despite acquittals like Bentley's and expert testimony that cellphone tower data should not be used to pinpoint people's locations, insurance companies continue to use the information to deny claims by casting doubt that customers were where they said they were. (Jaclyn Bentley via AP)

    This August 2016 self-made photo shows Jaclyn Bentley, of Clinton, Iowa. In connection with a fire that destroyed her home in 2014, Bentley was acquitted in February 2017 of arson and insurance fraud charges, which she said stemmed from a flawed analysis of cellphone tower records. Despite acquittals like Bentley's and expert testimony that cellphone tower data should not be used to pinpoint people's locations, insurance companies continue to use the information to deny claims by casting doubt that customers were where they said they were. (Jaclyn Bentley via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This 2014 photo provided by Jaclyn Bentley' shows the burned remains of her home in Clinton, Iowa. Bentley was acquitted in February 2017 of arson and insurance fraud charges, which she said stemmed from a flawed analysis of cellphone tower records. (Jaclyn Bentley via AP)

    This 2014 photo provided by Jaclyn Bentley' shows the burned remains of her home in Clinton, Iowa. Bentley was acquitted in February 2017 of arson and insurance fraud charges, which she said stemmed from a flawed analysis of cellphone tower records. (Jaclyn Bentley via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Insurance companies are using cellphone tower data to deny claims for stolen cars, burned homes and other mishaps, despite the accuracy of the information coming under question at criminal trials across the country.

Jaclyn Bentley, of Clinton, Iowa, was acquitted of arson and insurance fraud charges last month after casting doubt on cell tower information. She says she was camping about 17 miles away from her home when it caught fire and burned down in 2014.

State Farm had denied her claim, saying tower data showed her phone was 5 to 12 miles away from the campsite shortly after the fire was reported. A company spokesman declined to comment.

Other people told The Associated Press similar stories.

Experts say cellphones can be up to 20 miles away when connecting with a tower.