Crime Stoppers and the Insurance Fraud Bureau are warning that van hire companies in parts of the North West are going out of business because of fraudulent ‘cash for crash’ or deliberately staged accident insurance claims for financial gain.
Figures released last week show that parts of the region, particularly Oldham and Bolton, are among the top ten worst places in the UK for the scam, and that the problem has got so bad that one Bolton business owner has claimed it could now soon be impossible for firms like his to get any sort of insurance cover.
Why should this ‘cash for crash’ epidemic worry motorists?
Well, simply because this kind of fraud is not a victimless crime. It is a misconception to believe that only insurance companies will have to pick up the bill; this type of fraud costs us all. As honest policyholders we pick up the collective bill through increased insurance premiums. In fact it’s estimated that this type of fraud adds roughly £50 to every motorist’s yearly insurance premium.
What is a ‘cash for crash’ scam?
‘Crash for Cash’ scams are run by fraudsters who manufacture collisions, often with innocent road users. By staging these fake accidents fraudsters hope to profit from fraudulent insurance claims. With claims for a single collision potentially worth tens of thousands of pounds, organised fraudsters are orchestrating scams that involve multiple collisions. It is estimated that this type of fraud alone costs the motor insurance industry over £400 million a year.
How can you identify if you’ve been a victim of a staged, induced or ghost accident?
The tell-tale signs that you’ve been in a Crash for Cash scam are:
- The other driver is far too calm for someone that’s been involved in a car accident
- They have already written down their insurance details before the accident happened
- Any injuries appear to be completely at odds with the force of the impact
What should you do if you think you’ve been targeted?
- Note as much information as you can about the event, the driver, any passengers and the circumstances
- Take photos of the incident, if you are able
- Call the police (Crime Stoppers) on 0800 555 111 and report your suspicions
- Call the Insurance Fraud Bureau’s Cheatline on 0800 422 0421: they will then investigate whether your accident is an isolated event or part of a wider organised scam.
Genuine accidents do happen and if you are unfortunate enough to have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, whether you were driving or were a passenger in a vehicle, we can help you bring a claim. Our friendly experts are on hand to discuss the accident circumstances and to assist you in bringing a claim.