Fraud is a crime and it is one that is becoming increasingly common, especially in car accidents and personal injury accidents. Those that are injured following an accident that was not their fault are able to claim substantial amounts of money in a lot of cases and while this money is beneficial to those that genuinely need it, it is also a magnet for criminals that are looking to make money illegally. The police obviously play an important role in determining when fraud has been committed and in tracking down those that are responsible for it.
Insurance fraud effectively costs everybody money, not just the insurance companies or individuals that are directly involved in certain cases. The insurance companies lose significant sums of money every year in fraudulent cases and this is added to policies that are held by genuine people. For example, it is estimated that £44 of an annual car insurance policy comes as a result of the insurance companies being duped by fraudsters.
What’s more, individuals also suffer at the hands of the fraudsters. Crash for cash cases are those that involve fraudsters intentionally causing or fashioning car accidents. They will make innocent drivers look guilty of having caused the accident and because they are then considered a victim in the eyes of the law and the insurance company, they will be able to make a claim for compensation. Compensation packages can be significant, especially in those instances involving multiple passengers and considerable injuries.
The police have an important role to play in combating fraud and some constabularies and local police authorities have specialist fraud divisions. New legislation was introduced in 2006, called the Fraud Act 2006, that was designed to make it easier for the police and for fraud investigators to be able to track down and successfully prosecute those that are found guilty of fraudulent crimes. There is now a general offence of fraud, which may be committed in any of three ways – falsely representing information, failing to disclose information, or abusing position.
If you are involved in any kind of accident, or if you witness one, then your first step should be to contact the police and give them the details. If you were involved in a car accident then you may want to gather some of your own evidence. You can take witness details and even photograph the accident. This can help to prevent fraudsters from being able to perpetrate their crime and it may help to prove your innocence. The police will also be able to use these details during the course of their own investigation.
Fraud rings will often stage their own accidents and use their own fraudulent eyewitnesses. The police should be able to determine whether a witness to an accident was genuine by compiling accident data as well as information gathered from the witnesses and both parties in the accident.
The police will usually be called to an accident in order that both parties can be given an incident number. Any investigation carried out on the accident will be accompanied by this incident number, so if you contact solicitors or specialist fraud investigators they should be able to liaise with the police to assist investigations.
Insurance fraud is a major problem, especially in the car insurance industry. Cases of fraud cost more than £2bn a year and this has led to an increase of around £44 per insurance policy per annum. Investigating fraud is important and there are specialist police investigators and teams that work on these cases specifically. If you believe you have been a victim of fraudulent insurance claims then you should let the police know.