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‘Crash for cash’ car insurance hotspots revealed

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The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) has identified more than 170,000 car insurance claims from the last two years which may be the result of ‘crash for cash’ scammer networks, and flagged up hotspots where the scams are most common.

These scams often centre on deliberately causing a collision, and then making an insurance claim. This can be staged behind closed doors, or even through orchestrating a collision with an innocent member of the public.

Analysis by the IFB dug into 2.7 million claims made in the UK between October 2019 and the end of 2020 and found that more than 170,000 claims could be down to scam groups.

Ben Fletcher, director at the IFB, noted that these fraudsters bring devastation to countless victims and increase car insurance costs for the rest of us.

He added: “As traffic levels return to normal following the national lockdown, ‘crash for cash’ fraudsters may look to make up for lost time. It is hoped that by shining a spotlight on the issue we will encourage road users to be alert and report any suspicious activity to the IFB’s Cheatline on 0800 422 0421.”

The ‘crash for cash’ hotspots

Certain areas are particularly popular among the fraudsters behind these scams.

Here are the 10 podcasts identified by the IFB as the crash for cash hotspots:

Postcode Town/city
B25 Birmingham
B34 Birmingham
B8  Birmingham
BD7  Bradford
BD3 Bradford
WS1 Walsall
BB9 Blackburn
BD8 Bradford
B27 Birmingham
RM18 Romford

As you can see, Birmingham is particularly bad for these scams, with the city occupying four of the 10 hotspots, while Bradford postcodes make up three of the spots.

Protecting yourself from ‘crash for cash’ gangs

The gangs who carry out these scams often slam on the brakes at busy junctions and roundabouts in the hope that the driver behind cannot stop, causing a collision. So the first step to avoiding being caught up in such an incident is to ensure you always keep a good distance from the car in front, extending the size of that distance in wet or icy conditions.

The IFB also suggests being alert to the driving behaviour of those on the road ahead of you, as crash for cash scammers can be quite erratic. It adds that it’s useful to focus on the vehicles themselves and not just their lights, as fraudsters may look to disable the brake lights on their vehicle. 

It adds that if other drivers or their passengers are behaving suspiciously ‒ or their vehicle is in poor condition, perhaps because it has a host of dents at the rear, then stay calm and keep back.

If you are caught up in an incident, there are telltale signs that those involved are crash for cash scammers too. These include the driver or their passengers being unphased after the collision, or exaggerating the potential injuries, while alarm bells should also go off if they have already written out their car insurance information.

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