Firstly, more drivers returning to the road during the easing of lockdown measures. It is important to remind your customers of the dangers of crash for cash scams. The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) identified over 170,000 claims between October 2019 to December 2020 with suspected links to crash for cash fraud. Secondly, the Association of British Insurers revealed that a fraudulent insurance claim is uncovered every five minutes. 75% of these fraudulent motor claims contain a personal injury claim. Finally, we wanted to reinforce the importance of reporting suspicious behaviour. We will also include key information on tactics employed by scammers and how best to avoid becoming a victim of crash for cash in the future.
What is crash for cash?
Sadly, crash for cash is the common practice of deliberately causing traffic accidents to claim compensation. This compensation can include vehicle damage and personal injury claims.
Scammers will create a situation where their behaviour results in an innocent party colliding with another vehicle. Insurance companies will then assign blame to the innocent party based on the damage sustained to the scammer’s vehicle.
Crash for cash is an appalling and potentially life-threatening practice. It puts motorists at risk and causes distress and financial loss for its victims. Therefore we have provided examples of the most popular varieties of crash for cash.
Types of crash for cash scams
The goal for scammers is to induce an accident that will benefit them financially. Some of the forms this might take are:
- Induced crash: an accident caused by scammers driving in an erratic or manipulative way, to ensure a car collides with them.
- Flash for crash: scammers flash their headlights at fellow motorists at junctions to let them out, only to crash into them on purpose.
- Stealth crash: scammers hide in a driver’s blind spot before moving in front and slamming on the brakes, forcing a collision.
- Crash for instant cash: Scammers attempt to extort cash from the victim at the roadside. Rather than go through their insurer, often they convince victims this is the cheaper option.
- Staged crash: the term used to describe a fake accident, with damage replicated deliberately by the scammer using other vehicles or tools.
- Ghost crash: an accident that has not occurred, but scammers make a damage claim for regardless.
How to avoid crash for cash scams
There is no doubt that crash for cash is a deplorable act and the scammers themselves are involved in criminal activity. As a specialist underwriter of niche and non-standard motor insurance since 1982, we at Granite Underwriting want to ensure your customers know what avoid so they do not become a victim:
- If a driver is flashing headlights at you, do not presume it is a signal to proceed.
- Purchase a dashcam. Should the worst occur these devices can save you thousands of pounds in claims by utilising dashcam footage.
- A moment’s patience can avoid you being caught out by scammers. At a junction, make sure all drivers make their manoeuvres correctly according to their signals.
- Be on the lookout for inconsistent driving and unexpected speed changes from the vehicle in front.
- Always keep plenty of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front. This is especially true at junctions, crossings, or in bad weather conditions.
- Scammers will often disable brake lights to make it easier to commit fraud. If you suspect that a vehicles brake lights may not be working, keep a safe distance and remain vigilant.
- Look out for anyone who has their eyes glued to you in their rear-view mirror. This scammer could be watching intently for a lapse in judgement or distraction to provide the opportunity they need.
- Do not allow yourself to be distracted by other vehicles. Scammers will often work in pairs. A “decoy vehicle” is used as a distraction, whilst their accomplice positions themselves to strike.
How to spot a crash for cash scammer
Should the worst happen, and you are involved in an accident whilst behind the wheel, keep this checklist in mind. These are the key features that will help you determine if you are dealing with a crash for cash scammer:
- Following a collision, it is normal to experience feelings of anger, sadness, or shock. Scammers, however, may appear almost too calm and collected for someone involved in such an incident.
- Scammers are highly likely to have their insurance details previously written down and conveniently close to hand.
- Look to see if their vehicle displays evidence of previous damage. This could be proof that they have been involved in similar scams before.
What to do if you are a victim of crash for cash
If you think you have been a victim of a scammer then act quickly. Waste no time and make sure you:
- Gather evidence. Photos, videos, and witness testimony will all be useful information for police. Try to get footage or photographs of the damage to all vehicles involved.
- Be vigilant, as fraudsters can often plant fake witnesses that provide false testimony.
- Call the police immediately, then call the Insurance Fraud Bureau (0800 422 0421)
- Report the incident to your insurance provider.
No scams, just quality insurance underwriting every time
With almost 40 years insurance industry experience, we work directly with our brokers to create a mutually beneficial, long-term partnership. We are proud to provide the service that we would expect ourselves. Our services include:
- Flexible Underwriting: an experienced team who individually underwrite each risk
- Fast Turnaround: we aim to return quotes within 40 minutes. We are available 9:00 am to 7:00 pm Mon to Fri, and 9:00 am to 3:00 pm Sat
- Online Portal: for easy risk submission and issuing cover
- Reliability: providing a consistent approach to underwriting and rating
- Net Rated quotations: most of our schemes are Net Rated to provide the best possible rate and allow you to control your earnings
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