Crash For Cash: Cases Of Insurance Fraud Set To Rise

The Insurance Fraud Bureau has issued a warning to drivers that cases of crash for cash schemes are due to rise in the future…

Crash For Cash And Insurance Fraud 

The chances of someone deliberately crashing into you on your next drive – on purpose – are going up. That’s the message from the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), as it notes rising cases of so-called’ ‘crash for cash’ incidents. These see criminals deliberately stage accidents, sometimes involving other vehicles, in order to make claims. Since the financial collapse of 2008, incidents of insurance fraud have risen by 17%. Now, the IFB believes they could spike once again as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. If so, it would come off of the back of a 5% increase in 2019 alone.

As of now, one in ten crashes on the road network is linked to a suspected crash for cash scheme; leaving innocent motorists injured, out of pocket and potentially without their no-claims bonuses. Ben Fletcher, director of the IFB, explained the situation. He said, “with Covid-19 causing so many people to lose out financially, it sadly means there are more opportunities for insurance scammers to exploit the vulnerable. These fraudsters don’t care who suffers – from the elderly to key workers, we’ve seen them get targeted”. His view is shared by Detective Superintendent Peter Ratcliffe, head of the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Funded Units. He added, “fraudsters will use any opportunity to try and steal money from the public, including the exploitation of tragic events such as the current worldwide Covid-19 pandemic”.

How To Protect Yourself 

The absolute best way to protect yourself against crash for cash schemes is to invest in a quality dash cam. These will make it exceptionally difficult for a fraudster to induce a collision, as they’ll expose their behaviour. Moreover, they might even discourage them from singling you out in the first place; assuming the cameras are visible. It’s also important to recognise the warning signs. Is a nearby driver behaving erratically? Do their rear brake lights work? Is the driver regularly looking behind or over their shoulder? It’s also crucial to approach junctions cautiously after having being signalled. Whilst a commonly accepted form of communication between drivers, it doesn’t trump the Highway Code; which is clear on who has right of way. If you are signalled, make your manoeuvre slowly and keep an eye on the car that has signalled you.

If the worst should happen, remain calm and collect evidence at the scene of the crash. Ask the other person for their contact and insurance details. Write down information about the other drivers and their vehicles. If there were witnesses to the crash, make sure to get their contact details as well. Finally, should someone ask for money after a crash, walk away or seek assistance.

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