The Insurance Fraud Bureau estimates £340 million a year is spent on fraudulent car accident claims, with the honest motorists having to pay for the crash for cash scams. Statistics show around 30,000 of these incidents take place every year, and as these scams end up costing insurers a large sum of money, insurance companies are pushing up premiums for drivers.
Additionally, research from a price comparison website also found that one in twenty drivers under 35 have staged a deliberate accident, while 15% would consider doing so for some additional cash. Therefore, it’s important for law abiding citizens to recognize the signs of crash for cash scams so they can protect themselves.
This is why we’re offering a guide on what these scams entail, how to recognize them, and whether you can steer clear of these accidents.
What is Crash for Cash?
Scammers will crash their cars in the hopes of claiming money from insurers. However, research shows that there are three main tactics these people use.
Contrived accidents are when someone makes a claim to their insurance company on a non-existent accident that never took place; staged accidents are usually between two persons who deliberately crash into one another in the hopes of claiming on their separate insurance policies. An induced accident is when someone deliberately drives dangerously and recklessly to force a collision with an innocent motorist.
Induced accidents are the category most must be wary of because these criminals purposely look for a third party to victimize. While ‘contrived’ and ‘staged’ is usually caused by a party of scammers, ‘induced’ targets the public. An example of an induced accident is a driver slamming on their brakes without warning, and suddenly the car behind crashes into the back of them.
Who Do Scammers Usually Target?
These criminals will usually target younger motorists or the elderly. These categories take advantage of the vulnerable as younger motorists may lack confidence and knowledge on the process of an insurance claim, while the elderly are viewed as easy targets due to helplessness.
What Are the Signs?
Be aware of possible hazards and any erratic, unpredictable drivers on the road. Make sure to leave plenty of space between you and the car in front and keep an eye out for any drivers (or passengers) who may be paying too much attention to the vehicles behind or beside them. Although drivers should be checking their car’s mirrors, an excessive amount could act as suspicious behavior.
Additionally, use your own judgement and proceed with caution, especially if someone flashes for you to pull out or has an indicator going. Wait until the car starts to turn and do not put too much faith into a driver’s indicator or brake lights (scammers have been caught disabling their brake lights).
If You’ve Been a Victim
An auto accident can become muddy and stressful, especially if someone is making a false claim. If you strongly believe you have been the victim of a crash for cash scam, contact a professional auto accident attorney.
Additionally, insist on calling the police after any accident, no matter how minor. The fraudster may back off and drop their claims, especially if they are a repeat offender.