Report reveals ‘Crash for Cash’ fraud costs UK motorists £392 million

by TTWpartners

‘Crash for Cash’ fraudsters are “gambling with the lives of UK motorists” and costing honest policyholders nearly £400 million every year, according to a new report published today by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).

Established to clamp down on Crash for Cash’ scams, the IFB links one in seven personal injury claims (69,500) to organised fraud in its new report, ‘Crash for Cash – putting the brakes on fraud’. The report urges members of the public to blow the whistle on ‘Crash for Cash’ fraudsters by calling the Cheatline – powered by Crimestoppers – anonymously, on 0800 422 0421.

David Neave, chairman of the IFB, said: “Fraudsters don’t just scam the insurance industry; they pick the pocket of every honest policyholder whose premiums increase to cover the costs of fraud. But in ‘Crash for Cash’, insurance fraud poses even starker risks to society. Fraudsters motivated by greed are gambling with the lives of innocent motorists by deliberately causing crashes up and down the country.

“Criminal gangs organising multi-million pound ‘Crash for Cash’ scams are also using the profits of their fraud to fund other crimes plaguing our society, including illegal firearms, drug dealing and people trafficking. Far from being a victimless crime, insurance fraud is serious and something we all need to be wary of.”

The IFB is currently coordinating 40 live police operations across the UK, investigating and dismantling criminal gangs organising ‘Crash for Cash’ scams worth £66.6 million in potential loses to insurers.

DCI Dave Wood, head of the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) – a dedicated police unit tackling insurance fraudsters across the UK – said: “‘Crash for Cash’ is a crime this country can ill-afford, putting innocent drivers at risk on our roads and leaving honest policyholders out of pocket.

“IFED’s first year in operation has found that although methods can vary, the objective remains the same, with organised crime groups stopping at nothing in their attempts to con insurers out of tens of thousands of pounds per incident.

“The IFB’s report sheds light on the murky world of ‘Crash for Cash’, spelling out the clear threats it continues to pose to the public and assisting the work IFED are doing to bring those responsible to justice.”

Craig Budsworth, chair of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) said: “The Insurance Fraud Bureau report makes astonishing reading and confirms exactly what we have suspected for some time – that organised criminal gangs are responsible for 1 in 7 personal injury claims relating to motor accidents. According to a recent report, injury claims came down nearly 25,000 last year and this could be nearly tripled by stamping out fraud.

The report also confirms that the vast majority of whiplash claims are legitimate and any future action to combat fraud by the Ministry of Justice must protect these accident victims.

Every support must be given to the authorities to ensure that these 40 or so criminal gangs are brought to justice as soon as possible to protect innocent accident victims. Regulators have insufficient resources to help combat this crime and so it’s vital we all work together.  The industry needs a collaborative approach to stamp out this type of crime and MASS looks forward to working with the IFB and the ABI on data sharing at an early stage.

MASS have suggested a range of solutions to tackle fraud. No medical, no damages would substantially reduce the opportunity for fraud and action must be taken on this.”

Fleet News, please see the original article here:

Crash For Cash Scams on the increase…

by TTWpartners

There are 30,000 staged accidents ‘Cash For Crash’ in the UK, per year
There are 1,300 claims ‘every day’, for whiplash (BBC June 2012 reported a 30% increase)
Crash for Cash describes the event whereby one or more parties are willingly involved in a Road Traffic Accident for financial benefit.The law in the UK entitles those injured in car accidents that were not their fault to claim Personal Injury compensation.  This has lead to fraudsters deliberately involving themselves in car accidents.  Innocent drivers have found themselves victims of accidents that were caused by the other driver on purpose, although this is often very difficult to prove.There has been press attention drawn to recent events in the UK involving Crash for Cash fraud. Evidence has shown that tactics such as removing brake bulbs on a vehicle to cause an innocent driver to crash in to the back of a car have been used.  The Crash for Cash fraudsters know that rear end collisions are rarely disputed by the drivers insurance company, and use this to their advantage when making a claim.  It is almost impossible to prove that the brake lights on the car that was hit were not working before the accident occurred.  This will probably result in the fraudster winning their insurance claim and being awarder personal injury compensation and other damages.Following an accident, the fraudsters will exaggerate their injuries in order to claim personal injury compensation.  Some criminals will carry passengers when causing the Crash for Cash accident, this will allow them to make multiple personal injury claims.  This type of fraud costs every insured driver in the UK money. Criminal gangs and individuals have made fraudulent claims amounting to tens of millions of pounds a year.House of Claims has had incidents reported where drivers of large vehicles have reversed at speed trying to crash in to the car behind them.  The shocked driver told us that a driver of a 4×4 vehicle looked at him in the rear view mirror before braking suddenly.  When the driver avoided the accident by stopping in time, the fraudster attempted to crash in to him by reversing at speed.  The Crash for Cash fraudsters know that it is almost impossible for the victimised driver to prove that they did not drive straight in to the back of their car.

How can I avoid being a victim of Cash for Cash fraud?

Fraudsters may find it easier to target you when you aren’t concentrating on driving. Using a mobile phone whilst driving, sending text messages, eating whilst driving, are all to be avoided.  If you are not concentrating on your driving 100 per cent, that may be the time the car in front of you brakes heavily and causes an accident. Keep your eyes on the road at all times, don’t become distracted when driving.  Keep plenty of space between you and the car in front, and allow even more room in wet weather conditions.

Have you been Flashed?

Cash for Crash fraudsters have been known to flash their headlights to make an innocent driver believe that they have been given permission to pull out from a turning. They will then continue without braking and hit the other driver, causing an accident. The victim of the Crash for Cash incident will find it virtually impossible to prove that they were given permission to pull out.  By causing an unavoidable obstruction the victim of the scam will be held liable when the fraudster makes a claim.

House of Claims advises you always to proceed with caution when exiting from side roads. If you think that you have been given way by another driver, take care and consider if it is safe to proceed before doing so. If an accident occurs they will probably blame you, so think carefully.

What to do if you’ve been victim of a Crash for Cash accident.

If you think that you have been victim of a Crash for Cash accident:

Report the incident in detail to the police as soon as possible. Make sure you give all the details as they will help your case in the future.

Make sure you obtain a Crime Reference Number from the police.

Let your insurer know that you believe the accident was caused deliberately, and tell them why you think so.

Operation Catcher – Advice to companies, operating vehicles within the M25, who are the victims of deliberately induced road collisions.
The Metropolitan Police area is one of a number of regions within the UK that is experiencing a high level of deliberately induced road collisions.

Organised criminal groups are targeting companies who operate vehicle fleets within the M25 area by deliberately causing collisions in order to defraud their insurers. Operation Catcher is a Metropolitan Police initiative, intended to identify an offence when it happens, prosecute the offenders and, as a result, reduce the incidence of this type of crime.

What are the features of an induced collision?
• The criminals will use two cars to target their victim. These cars will get ahead of the Company vehicle in steady moving traffic, the first will then brake hard or make an unexpected manoeuvre, this will cause the second car to brake hard (often using the handbrake to avoid alerting the intended victim) and result in a collision.

• The first car will make off while the second, now damaged car will stop. The occupants of this second car will make a point of blaming the car that has made off and appear to sympathise with their victim – you.
• The criminals are most frequently from the Asian community – Afghan, Bangladesh or Pakistani. (Not exclusively but a common feature in London)
• There will often be at least three occupants in the car.
• Driver details are often already written down and insurance and registration documents are carried in their car.
• The driver will speak English while the other occupants do not.
It should be noted that these features are a guide only and all elements may not be present at every induced collision. Extract from Operation Catcher press release from Metropolitan Police.

The top twenty areas in the UK affected by crash for cash activity have been published. Crash for cash is when fraudsters cause car crashes with innocent motorists to get insurance payouts.

The hotspots have been published by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), who are also working with law enforcement to crack down on insurance fraud, of which crash for cash is one type. Operations to date have resulted in more than 486 arrests, 119 criminal convictions and sentences that have included over 91 years imprisonment.

The top twenty crash for cash hotspots are listed by post area:

  • Birmingham (B)
  • Sheffield (S)
  • Manchester (M)
  • Nottingham (NG)
  • Cardiff (CF)
  • Liverpool (L)
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne (NE)
  • Leicester (LE)
  • Bristol (BS)
  • London South-East (SE)
  • London East (E)
  • Coventry (CV)
  • Glasgow (G)
  • London North (N)
  • Peterborough (PE)
  • Leeds (LS)
  • Brighton (BN)
  • Reading (RG)
  • Guildford (GU)
  • Portsmouth (PO)