A software company that specialises in motor vehicle insurance fraud has warned of a rising trend in the way criminals and fraudsters are causing motorists to have ‘intentional’ accidents, leading to expensive insurance policy pay-outs.
Scams denoted as “cash-for-crash” are now costing insurance companies upwards of 340 million pounds per annum, plus the driver distress and anger that results from such incidents.
According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), not only do motorists face rising premiums because of the record level of fraudulent claims, the rate of this type of accident is increasing.
The software company has identified a series of ways in which the scammers attempt to cause incidents or accidents on the road, resulting in claims for fake injuries and damage deliberately caused to gain a pay out!
There are various ways in which fraudsters attempt to cause these accidents in order to make a spurious claim.
One of the most insidious new tactics used by the fraudsters is known as “hide and crash”. Whereby the perpetrator lurks in the driver’s blind spot for a while before darting ahead of his victim and then slamming on the brakes – this almost invariably leads to a collision for the unsuspecting motorist, as well as potential injury.
Previously, a common tactic was simply to slam on the brakes as hard as possible to cause a rear-end shunt, but this new method is far more devious and brazen. The software company discovered a series of these claims which followed a near identical pattern exposing the scam.
Other methods used by these criminals are the “slam on”, which is the basic technique of slamming on the brakes to cause the vehicle behind to hit you. Another way is for the criminal to flash their lights to entice an unsuspecting motorist forward, and then they crash into them.
There is also a scam named “hire and crash”, whereby the fraudster uses a hire car and stages an accident, in many cases this will be pre-arranged and involve a known third party.
In some cases, after causing an accident, the other driver may ask for cash on the spot rather than using the correct insurance claim route.
New and used cars are just as likely to be targets. The most common place for such incidents to occur is at a roundabout, with busy urban areas and motorways also often targeted.
The ideal spot for the offending motorist is one where witnesses may not be able to safely stop without endangering themselves. Vulnerable motorists include the elderly, mothers driving with children or women travelling alone.
There are ways in which scammers can often give away their true intentions. For example, they may have already prepared paper with their details listed, or you may notice drivers or their passengers looking at you for a protracted period before the incident happens.
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In any situation where you feel an accident may be deliberate, it’s important to report it as soon as possible to the Insurance Fraud Bureau, the police or your motor insurance provider, even if it’s just as a precaution.
Take photos of any damage and make sure you record as much information as possible about the individual(s) and other vehicle(s) involved.
With private and motor trade insurance costs rising and motoring scams at a record level, its important fraud is reported to try and mitigate against further issues.
Most road users are considerate safe drivers, but you may not always be able to avoid such an unfortunate incident or scam.
So, remember the fundamental driving rules, like keeping a safe driving distance, and always check yourself to see whether it’s safe to proceed before reacting to another motorist flashing their lights to entice you.