You might have heard the phrase “Crash for Cash,” but do you know what it actually means? To put it simply it is to cause deliberately or stage a car accident for financial gain. Fraudsters often involve unsuspecting members of the general public: who could end up with a hefty insurance claim to deal with. This type of fraud costs insurers around £400 million a year – which is driving up the price of insurance cover for genuine, honest drivers.
There are three different types of “Cash for Crash” scams.
Staged Accident – This is where two criminals in separate cars will quite deliberately crash. Somewhat unsurprisingly, this usually happens away from any eyewitnesses. In fact, sometimes they don’t even bother to crash the cars, they may just take a hammer to make the vehicle look like it’s been damaged in a collision.
Induced Accident -The induced collision is dangerous in more ways than one. Here a criminal will crash into an innocent driver, so they become the one at fault. What usually happens is the criminal’s car pulls in front of you and then slam on the brakes. If you can’t stop in time, then you end up hunting into the back of their vehicle. These scammers know EXACTLY what they are doing. They may often disable their brake light, so you have no warning that they’re about to stop. Their techniques are still evolving – it’s not uncommon for more than one car to be involved. Fake witnesses and decoys are all commonplace. These criminals are playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette risking lives on our road every single day. Not only that, victims of these Cash for Crash ruses could face losing their no-claims bonus, and could find that their insurance premiums rise after the so called accident.
Ghost Accident -Criminals don’t even bother actually crashing any cars at all. These paper-based scams where the perpetrators submit completely made-up claims, for accidents that never happened. Sometimes there may involve cars that simply don’t exist. Personal Injury Solicitors have seen a rise in people trying to make claims for fabricated injuries, too. These can be complicated and difficult to prove.
Have you been targeted in a Cash for Crash accident?
If you think the other driver has stopped on purpose, there are other signs that may give the game away. If the driver seems very calm for someone who has just crashed their car, then that could be suspicious. If they’ve already got their details written down before the incident, or their “injuries” are at odds with the impact of the crash, then be on your guard.
If you think you’ve been involved in an attempted scam, then make a note of all the details you can. If you can, take photos and record as much as possible. Ensure you call the police as soon as possible to report your suspicions. The Police take a very dim view of this sort of crime. It’s on the rise – and they want to stamp it out.