There you are, driving along a busy road when the driver in front seems to be a bit slow. You may be in a bit of a hurry but there’s no chance of overtaking. You get to that roundabout and the driver in front seems to be dithering for no apparent reason. It then moves forward to enter the now clear roundabout. You do the same keeping a wary eye to the right looking for that fast appearing car or motorbike when you slam into the car in front that has jammed its brakes on.
The driver gets out as you do to inspect the damage. Of course it must be your fault for driving too close and not watching what you are doing. You are berated for your negligence and give over your insurance details whilst admitting it must be your fault. The other driver and sole occupant then gets in their car and drives off
You have just been subjected to the first stage of the scam!
The other driver, who has done this on numerous other occasions, now puts in a claim using one of the now many agencies against your insurance company for the following:
- Damage to their vehicle, usually fictitious and/or pre-existing.
- The cost of towing their vehicle away.
- Compensation for fictitious personal injuries.
- Compensation for the four fictitious passengers in the car with them.
- Loss of earnings for themselves and the fictitious passengers.
- Cost of hiring a replacement vehicle, although one was never actually used.
These fraudsters target commercial and private vehicles and can get payments of up to Â£30,000 out of one good operation!
You though get a loss of no-claims and your next set of premiums is eye-wateringly high.
Worse still, purposefully causing car accidents is a very dangerous thing to do. Imagine if a targeted car was carrying children for example.
This, as well as other general insurance scams that cost the insurance industry Â£1.9 billion a year (Â£44 a year to you and me), is why the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) was set up. The IFB is a “not for profit organisation funded by the insurance industry specifically focussed on detecting and preventing organised and cross industry insurance fraud. …. It is aligned with government objectives to protect all individuals and businesses from the effects of organised crime.”
If you suspect you or anyone you know of has been the victim of insurance fraud or attempted insurance fraud you can call the IFB hotline 0800 328 2550.
The IFB has issued guidance to drivers at: www.insurancefraudbureau.org/files/misc_pdfs/consumer_advice_-_crash_for_cash_scams.pdf.
The IFB say they are collating information and evidence and are steadily building up a body of successful cases against fraudsters. They are intent on crippling this fast growing crime that costs the innocent in so much time and money.