Crash For Cash Scams Hit Rural Areas
Published: 28 October 2011 By Peter Thompson 1 Comment
Crash for cash scams, whereby fraudsters fake car accidents in order to make car insurance claims are a major issue and now rural sites are being used, risking serious injury and endangering lives of other road users.
‘Crash for cash’ fraudsters fake accidents by making unnecessary emergency stops at busy roundabouts or slip roads, forcing motorists to crash into them.
A bogus claim is then made to the innocent motorist’s insurer, often including fictitious injuries and passengers.
Direct Line’s analysis of the UK’s top ten ‘crash for cash’ hotspots, shows ten new favoured locations with rural sites now being used as fraudsters look for new places to carry out their scams.
By using rural areas, fraudsters wrongly believe they will be harder to detect. Conducting these scams in rural areas means the likelihood of serious injury or worse to innocent motorists is increased, due to less traffic enabling average speeds on rural roads to be higher than in urban areas.
The top ten hotspots include roundabouts, junctions and slip roads throughout the UK.
Top Ten Crash for Cash Hot Spots
- Barking, A406 Eastbound, junction with Abbey Road.
- St Albans, North Orbital Road at Noke Lane / Lye Lane.
- A40 Intersection with North Circular, also known as the Hanger Lane Gyratory.
- Bedfordshire, A5 Dunstable Road junction with B4540 Lynch Hill.
- Bolton, M61 Junction 4.
- Roundabout at Oldham Bypass and Manchester Road.
- Woolston Grange Avenue, Warrington (roundabouts 7A, B, C, D).
- Chester Road, Little Aston, Birmingham near to its junction with Hobs Hole Lane.
- A4177 Honiley Road, just past Fen End going towards Warwick.
- A10/A121 roundabout.
Paul Hubbard, Head of Counter Fraud Operations at Direct Line, said: “Crash for cash scams pose a significant risk to public safety.
“As well as adding to the cost of insurance, they delay payouts on genuine claims as any reported accident at a known scam site has to undergo additional investigations.
He added: “Our investigation systems mean that we can pinpoint areas of concern and the hot spots are just a small proportion of the data that we share with the rest of the insurance industry.
“We will not tolerate fraudsters and always push for the harshest penalties, as we have a duty to protect our customers. Every pound taken by a fraudster is a pound taken from honest motorists.”
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) estimates the insurance industry’s exposure to fraudulent organised motor insurance claims per year is £350m, costing honest customers over £4 million every week. This adds on average £44 to the annual costs individual policyholders face each year.
Some tips for drivers to protect themselves against fraudsters:
- If you suspect someone in front of you is driving erratically give them as wide a berth as possible
- In the event of a car accident record as much detail as possible including names, addresses and dates of birth of claimants
- Make a note of how many people are in the other vehicle and if possible take photographs with your mobile phone
- Get full names and addresses of any witnesses
- Make sure you highlight concerns to your insurer and you can report information free of charge to the Insurance Fraud Bureau’ confidential hotline on 0800 328 2550 or online at www.insurancefraudbureau.org/report
For further details on Direct Line Car Insurance visit www.directline.com
MoneyHighStreet comments: “It’s another sad reflection on our society that fraudsters turn to such scams and pray on the innocent to make money. The sophisticated investigation systems that insurers such as Direct Line, and other entities are using to track them are welcomed.
Fraudsters will still try to get round these and consumers need to be aware, taking to steps to avoid the scams if possible. If caught though, taking action such as making sure you get witness details and take pictures with your mobile phone really can help.”