Crash for cash is a blight on society and one that costs millions of pounds every week. Not only does this mean that insurance companies are out of pocket but this loss is passed on to customers. It is estimated that every car insurance policy is increased by £50 as a result of such scams. Vigilance is the key to ensuring that you are not involved in accidents that are engineered by fraudsters, although if you are particularly worried then you can invest in items like dashboard CCTV systems.
Crash for cash fraudsters have honed their fraudulent skills and have worked out how to optimise the returns they get for every scam. A single scam can earn a fraud ring £20,000 or more in compensation and other payments. They will claim for fraudulent injuries to themselves as well as passengers that may not even have been in the car at the time of the incident. They will claim for damage to the car that may have already been there; this is especially likely if they regularly use the vehicle for these scams. They can also claim for loss of earnings, hiring a replacement vehicle, and removing the vehicle from the scene of the accident.
The fraudsters usually play on people’s lack of vigilance in order to be able to make claims. Those that slam their brakes on to cause an accident with the car behind use their mirrors to determine whether the driver behind is paying full attention to the road while flash for cash schemes rely on drivers’ trust. Unfortunately, avoiding such schemes means ignoring politeness and sticking to the letter of the Highway Code.
- Always allow enough room between you and the car in front. If they slam their brakes on quickly, you need time to stop because even a minor bump can be inflated to exceptional proportions by some of the best fraudsters. It is possible that a fraudulent claimant remove or damage their brake lights and this means that you will need additional time to be able to stop so consider allowing extra room.
- Carry a pen and paper with you in your car and take advantage of the phone camera that most people carry with them as a matter of course. You will need witness evidence in some crash for cash cases although you should also bear in mind that some fraud rings place their own witnesses at the location of the contrived accident so that they can use them to help cement a compensation payment.
- Consider fitting a forward facing dash cam (video camera.) The price of digital dash cam recordeds have plumeted over recent years and are available for between £30-£150. Best of all when fitted they are set and forget. They start when you turn on the ignition and turn off when you switch off the engine. The camera will record footage a removable membery card and will over write the oldest footage when the card is full.
- If you believe you have been victim of a crash for cash scam then you should report it. Tell the police because they may be able to shed some light on what has happened. Tell your insurance company, too, because they will be keen to go after crash for cash scammers, and call the Insurance Fraud Bureau Cheatline on 0800 328 2550. The IFB investigate insurance fraud regularly, they have an invaluable network of contacts and services to assist, and they will actively pursue those that they believe have been guilty of perpetrating a crash for cash scam.
The IFB works with police, government agencies, and other groups and organisations in a bid to identify crash for cash scammers and to bring them to justice. They educate the population on the most likely types of scam, how to avoid being scammed, and the best action to take for those that believe they have been caught up in the actions of a fraudster. Take advantage of their knowledge, network, and their willingness to chase prosecution because it could save your reputation, your licence, and your no claims bonus.