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Cash For Crash Scams‘Cash for crash’ scams have made headline news with increasing regularity in the past few years. The scams, in which a driver deliberately causes a car crash in order to profit from fraudulent insurance claims on the innocent victim’s policy, are becoming increasingly sophisticated. While some are the work of lone individuals, many more are orchestrated by organised crime gangs, who make a healthy profit from defrauding the insurers.

One common method used by the cash for crash scammers is to slam on their brakes at a busy roundabout or junction, causing the unsuspecting motorist behind to crash into the back of them. They will then claim that the other party was at fault and seek to claim off their insurance. Some will even have a friend or fellow gang member to act as a ‘bystander’ who will then testify to the insurers that the accident was the fault of the other party. The scammers will often claim for bogus injuries and other losses in addition to damage to their vehicle.

Pushing up premiums

Such scams increase insurance premiums for the innocent victim of the pre-meditated crash, in addition to causing significant mental anguish and even trauma. But they also push up the price of insuring a car for the vast majority of careful law-abiding drivers in the UK. Last month, the Insurance Fraud Bureau estimated that the increasingly widespread practice of fraudulent crashes costs the average motorist an additional £44 each year in insurance premiums. As well as being intensely dangerous, they also make car insurance providers more reluctant to pay out on even genuine claims if there is any reason for suspicion.

Perhaps the most notorious cash for crash scam was that orchestrated by brothers Rezwan and Rehan Javed in the Greater Manchester area. Not only did they work in conjunction with other gang members to organise staged crashes, but they would also manage the resulting fraudulent insurance claims, through their company North West Claims Centre Ltd. They were last month convicted of conspiracy to defraud and await sentencing. Their driver meanwhile, 25 year old Mohammed Patel, was sentenced to four and a half years in jail last year, after admitting his part in deliberately causing over 90 crashes.

Costing the motorist

In another case, a company director of both an accident management company and a luxury car rental firm was arrested for his part in a scam. He and his business partner used their companies to submit bogus claims for accidents involving expensive vehicles, including costs for hiring replacement vehicles, sourced from their own rental business. Individual claims in the case are thought to have regularly in excess of £40,000.

Though the police and insurance companies are attempting to clamp down on these cash for crash scams, with those convicted being punished heavily, it remains an ongoing problem. The Insurance Fraud Bureau has meanwhile issued a number of guidelines to help motorists avoid falling victim to a fraudulent crash which will not only damage their vehicle but increase their insurance premiums. These include:

  • Stay focused and alert – cash for crash scammers often prey on those who are not paying proper attention to the road.
  • Keep your distance – Many bogus crashes involve low-speed rear impact collisions caused by the scammer braking suddenly. By keeping a safe distance between your own vehicle and the car in front you can minimise your chances of being involved in such an accident.
  • Inform the authorities – If you suspect that you have been the victim of a cash for crash scam, inform the police immediately. Don’t admit liability for the accident and record as much information about the crash as possible.

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