Fraudulent claims have been in the headlines for several years as companies in the UK insurance industry battle criminal gangs and their ever-evolving scams, making millions out of ordinary motorists in the process.
Figures show that in 2016 insurers discovered 150,000 fraudulent claims totalling up to a whopping £1.3 billion. This led to insurers spending up to £200 million to identify and shut down the fraudulent claims.
In this article, we tell you what to look out for if you suspect you’ve been targeted for a scam and how to avoid being a victim of a fraudulent claim.
What is Crash for Cash?
Crash for Cash is a name given to staged accidents which are caused deliberately by people attempting to make money out of insurance companies and other motorists.
These scammers are targeting innocent people, costing millions of pounds by staging fake car accidents. This not only puts the lives of motorists at risk but subsequently causes fabricated personal injury claims.
This is shown by whiplash claims being 50 per cent higher than a decade ago, although the UK’s total number of accidents are falling.
Sometimes both drivers are involved in the scam but, more often than not, fraud investigators find the claim arises as the scammer drives recklessly to put the third party at fault.
How does Crash for Cash work?
Due to the sheer number of reported fraud claims, leading insurance companies and the insurance Fraud bureau analyse and enumerate the ways and number of claims made.
Also known as “Slam On the Brakes”, this is usually the most common mean of fraud, in which the scammer will break vigorously and due to the victim’s lack of knowledge will likely end up causing a rear-end collision.
Flash for Cash
Flash for cash is a recent insurance fraud phenomenon in which scammers will flash their headlights to let a driver out of a junction, with the intention to crash into them.
A difficulty with this scam is its difficult to know who is at fault when it comes to court as it is one driver’s word vs another.
Hide and Crash
This scam is being adopted by scammers over the country in which the fraudster will be hiding in the victim’s blind spot, before moving in view of the driver, accelerating ahead and then proceeding to break aggressively, therefore trapping an unexpected driver.
How to Prevent Crash for Cash
How can unaware and innocent drivers avoid a jump in their insurance premium and keep safe on the road?
Be apprehensive, avoid any aggressive manoeuvres, and keep an eye on erratic driving while keeping a distance.
Courtesy can cause confusion. While it is often fine to accept another drivers courtesy, to be safe it is better to stick to the highway code and avoid a fraudulent claim and the stress that comes with it.
Be wary of the car in front. Always allow sufficient room between you and the car ahead to avoid any potential incident.
Look ahead of the traffic. Stay on the ball in case of erratic driving.
Get a Forward-facing Camera
Make sure you have hard evidence of an incident that could occur. Being able to prove the car ahead had no functioning brake lights could make or break in defending a claim from being at fault.
Never assume that flashing headlights is a signal to proceed, follow the highway code and avoid potential accidents with other road users.
Don’t assume the movement of a vehicle, if you are at a junction wait for the vehicle to commit to turning rather than assuming.
Dealing with a Crash for Cash Incident
What you should do if you suspect you are involved in a Cash for Crash scheme?
Be in control of your emotions, stay calm and do not admit liability as it could cause issues for your case in the future. Call the police in a nonchalant manner; you are dealing with criminals and they could be erratic.
If there is an indication of injury call an ambulance and note how they act when being seen to or the thought of ringing help.
Count the passengers within the car, this could increase after the accident to get a larger personal injury pay-out.
Take note of all the occupants’ personal details, including full name, address and date of birth. Look for an independent witness. It could change the outcome of the claim and solidify your story.
Check for CCTV cameras within the area for additional evidence.
Reporting Insurance Fraud
If you are suspicious of a potential fraudster, report them to the Insurance Fraud Bureau cheatline by calling 0800 422 0421 or visit IFB’s website and fill out the relevant form.