Crash for cash – stop the scams!

This blog post was authored by Shoshana Mather, Litigation Executive, Manchester office. 

Crash for cash scams involve fraudsters who intentionally drive dangerously (such as slamming on their brakes suddenly and without reason), to cause an innocent motorist to crash into them so they can claim for compensation.

Although the number of claims arising from road traffic accidents had fallen in the last couple of months as there were less cars on the roads, it is anticipated that fraudsters will use the increased volume of traffic, following the COVID-19 lockdown to deliberately cause accidents to make easy money.

As COVID-19 has resulted in many people struggling financially, the IFB’s ‘stop the scams’ campaign is raising awareness for people to remain vigilant in spotting these scams as fraudsters are taking every opportunity to target vulnerable people for their own financial gain.

The IFB state that ‘one in every ten injury claims for a motor collision is linked to a suspected ‘crash for cash’. This is a startling statistic and a stark reminder of why it is so important to be vigilant on the roads.

No cars, no fraud

According to the ABI, the number of motor insurance claims notified to insurers in the second quarter of 2020 fell significantly due to there being less cars on the roads.

When lockdown was lifted, people started getting back to work, back to commuting and generally into the habit of driving after months of reduced activity. The same increase is anticipated when this second lockdown ends, as the number of vehicles increases on the road once again. The risk of falling victim to a ‘cash for crash’ scam is therefore higher, as fraudsters are getting back to doing what they do best.

How to protect yourself from crash for cash

  • Always stay alert
  • Always adhere to the Highway Code
  • Always keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front
  • Know the signs.

What to look out for

  • Driver in front keeps braking for no reason
  • Driver changes lane suddenly and brakes in front of you
  • Driver hesitates to go at a roundabout when it is clear
  • Vehicle goes round a roundabout on more than one occasion
  • Driver drives erratically
  • Other driver appears unfazed by the collision
  • You are provided with pre-written insurance details following the accident
  • Occupants of other vehicle complain of injuries immediately after the accidents or display injuries at complete odds with the impact of the collision
  • If it does not look right or feel right, it probably isn’t!

Stop the scam

Insurance fraud costs the insurance industry 1.2 billion pounds a year which also causes a rise in the cost of insurance policies. Not only does crash for cash scams cost the insurance industry money, it also puts people’s safety at risk and can lead to fatalities.

The victim is often left injured and facing the loss of their no claims discount as well as with damage to their own vehicle.

The IFB are encouraging the public to be on the lookout for fraudsters in order to avoid falling victim of a crash for cash. They are encouraging the public to report If they have been a victim of crash for cash or see anything suspicious, to report it to the IFB on their confidential and anonymous cheatline (08004220421) or online.

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