Look out for ‘flash for crash’ insurance scams

October 10, 2013

Across the UK criminal gangs are faking or deliberately causing thousands of accidents every year just to submit fraudulent insurance claims.

According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), these scams cost £392 million annually. Around 380 false claims are made daily worth nearly £1bn and it is estimated that they add an extra £50 to each motorists annual premium inevitably leading to the overall price of insurance being pushed up*.

An alarming new trend involves fraudsters lying in wait for potential victims to pull out onto main roads. The fraudsters flash their headlights to let the victim join a main road, but then speed up, hitting them side-on to cause an accident for which the other driver can be blamed. If no one is injured and the road is not blocked the police do not routinely record or attend minor accidents, it is often sufficient for drivers to speak directly to their insurance company. Organised criminal groups profit, with help from professional enablers, by claiming on their insurance and inflating costs for recovery of the damaged vehicle, storage while awaiting repairs and car rental.

The tactic is a variation on the “crash for cash” scam in which criminal gangs use several cars to brake suddenly, in the hope that a following car will cause a rear-end collision. This emerged at the beginning of the year and the recent evolution to ‘flash for crash’ is yet another example of how criminal gangs are becoming more sophisticated and attempting to stay one step ahead of suspicion.

More than ever motorists need to be aware of their surroundings especially in remote locations. Never assume that flashing headlights is a signal inviting you to proceed. Use your own judgement and proceed carefully.

*IFB Crash for Cash report 2012


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