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Car insurance fraud remains a “real and growing threat” to road users with crash for cash schemes one of the fastest growing categories of insurance fraud in the UK. Data suggests the issue could be getting worse with fraudulent car accident claims rising 45 percent year on year.
The data was well above the average of a 27 percent rise across other categories of insurance fraud in a major warning to road users.
There are now fears fraudsters have used the lockdown to their advantage and could be set for a strong if attacks on innocent drivers.
Neil Thomas, Director at AX has warned criminals would likely do anything to “milk the motor industry” and avoid detection.
He said: “Criminals will do anything to milk the motor industry and drivers, evolving their tactics to keep people guessing and avoid detection.
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“We can’t completely stamp out their activities, but we can collectively do more to curtail what is a real and growing danger to drivers.
“Recent experience has shown how some criminals have used the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown to plan motor insurance frauds, and they are now intent on cashing in at the expense of innocent motorists.”
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) has also issued a critical warning to road users on social media in line with National Road Victim month.
They warned the scams leave “countless innocent road users injured each year” in a major safety risk.
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Crash for cash scams are where fraudsters stage collisions to file insurance claims against another driver.
The IFB says the scam costs the industry around £340million per year which is often footed by higher premiums for ordinary customers.
The Association of British Insurers and AX agree there are several types of crash for cash schemes but all have similar outcomes.
Staged collisions are when fraudsters intentionally damage a car but claim that a real accident has happened.
Evidence could be fabricated including taking a sledgehammer to a parked car or intentionally crashing two vehicles.
But they warn the most notorious tactic is the induced collision technique where road users drive in an erratic way hoping to engineer crashes that appear legitimate.
This can include hard braking while driving directly in front of another car which would cause a rear-end collision.
Hide and crash scams have also been united by experts where criminals hide in driver’s blind spots before moving in front and slamming on the brakes.
In a bid to protect road users from being caught out by a devastating scam, experts have revealed ways drivers can take precautions while on the road.
They warned drivers must look out for any erratic driving and could identify any vehicles which look like they have rear end damage.
If a crash has already taken place motorists need to look for any injuries that appear to be at odds with the force of an impact.
Calm drivers who have already written down their insurance details could also be another sign the collision was fabricated.
If drivers feel they have been a victim of a scam, they should gather as much evidence at the scene including key facts and photographic evidence.
Road users are also urged to call the IFB’s Cheatline service and the police to report their concerns.
Motorists are also urged to invest in dashcams, vehicle tracking devices and telematic tools which can help investigators determine how an accident happened.
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