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As many of you may already know, Monday was National Personal Safety Day 2014. In aid of this, we have written our blog post about an insurance fraud scam that is catching out more and more drivers; the ‘Crash for cash’ scam. Not only is this a costly scam for drivers, it can also be extremely dangerous.
Read on for details about how to keep yourself safe on the road, and how to save yourself from becoming a victim of the scam that costs us an estimated £392m a year!
What is a ‘Crash for cash’ scam?
A ‘Crash for cash’ scam is a fraudulent claim in which a person deliberately stages or induces a crash so that they are able to claim from the insurance.
This is both costly and dangerous!
There are 3 main types of ‘Crash for cash’ scams:
1. Staged accidents– two fraudsters deliberately crash into each other and claim on their separate insurance policies.
2. Induced accidents– where the “crash for casher” deliberately drives dangerously or badly to force a collision with an innocent motorist.
(For example, they slam on their brakes without warning so the car behind crunches into the back of them, or pull out at a junction or roundabout giving an oncoming car no chance to avoid them.)
3. Contrived or ‘Ghost’ accidents– where scammers make insurance claims on made up accidents that have never even taken place.
Are you at risk?
All drivers are at risk of becoming victims of a ‘Crash for cash’ scam. It is thought that the main targets are often commercial drivers or vulnerable drivers; such as someone with a child in the car or an elderly driver. Fraudsters have also been known to target those with particularly nice or expensive cars because it is more likely they will have insurance.
If you think you have been a victim of one of these scams, you should contact the IFB immediately by calling their ‘Cheatline’ on 0800 422 0421.
Statistics (from 2013)
The UK ‘Crash for cash’ statistics are worrying, as our infographic shows:
How can you protect yourself from being a victim?
Dash cams/driver recording systems are one of the best ways to protect you and your vehicle against ‘Crash for cash’ scams. Dash cams are installed into your vehicle and are able to record everything that goes on whilst you are driving. Some cameras will even record when your car is parked, meaning any theft or damage to your vehicle whilst you are not present will also be caught on camera.
The main function of a dash cam, particularly in a ‘Crash for cash’ situation, is that it records a TRUE version of events. A camera can also act as a deterrent because scammers are less likely to choose you as a victim if they see you have one installed.
Vehicle Accessories not only supplies and installs a wide range of driver recording systems, we also provide expert advice on which camera would be best suited to you and we ensure that you are 100% happy with how to use your equipment.
Visit our website or call 03332007244 to order your camera.
This video shows how a Dash cam can be beneficial when it comes to ‘Crash for cash’ scams because the camera shows WHO is to blame for the ‘accident’:
Other ways to avoid being a victim and to keep yourself safe on the road:
* Look well ahead trying to anticipate possible hazards at all times.
* Allow plenty of space to the car in front at all times- particularly at junctions and pedestrian crossings.
* Be wary of a vehicle in front if it is driving erratically or slowing down for no apparent reason.
* If you suspect that the brake lights may not be working on the car in front, keep well out of their way.
* Never assume that flashing headlights is a signal inviting you to proceed. Use your own judgement and proceed carefully.
* Do not assume, when waiting at a junction, that a vehicle coming from the right and signalling left will actually turn (wait and make sure).
New: ‘Flash for cash’ scam
If the already existing methods of ‘Crash for cash’ scams aren’t bad enough, the latest ‘trend’ in vehicle insurance fraud is the ‘Flash for cash’ scam. Drivers have been flashing to let out other drivers (at a junction for example), then the scammer is purposely crashing into the driver and then claiming for damages/injuries.
Ensure you don’t become a victim of the latest scam, read more about it here.
– BBC news (they say that the number of ‘Crash for cash’ scams have gone up by 50% in the last 12 months): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27892412
– The BBC reports about the tragic death of a ‘Crash for cash’ victim- outlining how dangerous this scam can be: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21474549
– Crimestoppers explain how this scam is being used by many drivers to fund much worse crimes: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/get-involved/our-campaigns/national-campaigns/crash-for-cash/
– The Association of British Insurers have written an interesting article including details of those who have been caught: https://www.abi.org.uk/News/News-releases/2014/05/Insurance-cheats-feel-the-heat-value-of-fraudulent-claims-uncovered-by-insurers-hits-record-level