Crash for Cash Scams on the Rise - Don't Let Yourself Become a Victim

I am delighted to introduce guest blogger Stefan Mustieles from Money Supermarket  Stefan provides a chilling insight into this scam: 

"The latest craze to sweep across Britain is coming to a town near you. Beware, the crash for cash scam is on the rise and motorists everywhere are at risk.

According to research by Money Supermarket, one in twenty motorists under 35 have confessed to having ‘staged’ an accident and claimed on the other drivers insurance successfully. More worryingly, 1.7million of all motorists would actually consider staging a motor accident themselves, to claim on their insurance.

Should I be worried?

Single mothers and the elderly are likely to be targeted as they are less likely to ‘create a fuss’ or cause problems. Once the victim has admitted responsibility (usually under extreme pressure) the fraudsters will launch ‘bogus’ personal injury claims for themselves and often ‘fictional’ additional passengers.

The insurance industry have separated this type of motor insurance fraud into three categorise, these are:

•    ‘Staged’ motor accidents; two vehicles deliberately knock into each other in order to claim on insurance.
•    ‘Contrived’ motor accidents; a fabricated claim for a motor incident that never took place.
•    ‘Induced’ motor accidents; a deliberate action by a motorist to force an innocent driver to crash into them, such as braking suddenly so they are hit from behind.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) estimates around 30,000 accidents are staged each year, with the average claim totalling around £17,000. It cost insurers about £350million in 2009, adding £44 to the premium of every driver in the country.

Top 20 Hot-Spots

1.    Birmingham      11.    Sheffield
2.    Liverpool          12.    Uxbridge
3.    Blackburn         13.    Nottingham
4.    Manchester      14.    Warrington
5.    Leeds               15.    Stockport
6.    London east     16.    Harrow
7.    Oldham             17.    Leicester
8.    Bradford            18.    Chester
9.    London north    19.    Enfield
10.    Bolton             20.    Wakefield

If you have a gut feeling something is wrong, it probably is

There are a number of ways these fraudsters can catch you out. Most commonly is slamming the brakes on all of a sudden. Some will even use their handbrake or disconnect the brake lights, so you don’t see them until the last minute.

It can be a terrifying ordeal if you are targeted by fraudsters in this way. If you are involved in a crash for cash scam, the first thing to do is stay calm and don’t get angry. Never accept liability and, if possible record photographs of the other driver and any other passengers in the car. It is not uncommon for the fraudster to create ‘fictional’ passengers in order to claim more, due to personal injury. Take as much detail as possible about the vehicles involved and any damage caused.

Ultimately, the best advice when on the roads is, always be aware and vigilant. Keep enough distance between you and the car in front and never eat, drink or use your mobile at the wheel, but then I suppose you know that already."

An interesting tale - let's hope none of us fall victim.  Thank you Stefan.