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‘Crash for Cash’ scam gangs have been spreading out from their typical crime hotspots, such as in conurbations such as Birmingham, to stage collisions in unsuspecting areas.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) has named several: such as Frome, Worksop and Cirencester. The Bureau suggests these gangs are even targeting villages; such as Beckington which in Somerset outside from Frome which has a population of 980.
Ben Fletcher, Director at the IFB, said: “’Crash for Cash’ fraudsters are known to evolve their tactics and the latest evidence shows that they’ve started spreading out from prominent crime hotspots to less suspecting towns and cities in the hope that they can avoid detection.
“This change in tactic brings home the fact that no matter where people may live, everyone should be on their guard to these reckless car crash scams. To help us stop cases from rising and bring these fraudsters to justice, we urge drivers to look out for signs of ‘Crash for Cash’ scams and to report any evidence of it to us straight away.”
And Tom Hill, Detective Chief Inspector at City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), said: “As we have seen in the past, a rise in cost of living and resulting financial hardships can often drive people to commit fraud. Unfortunately, this means that the public need to be even more alert than usual to fraudsters, like ‘Crash for Cash’ drivers.
“These criminals are reckless and show zero regard for the safety of other road users. It is important to learn the tell-tale signs that often precede an induced collision, as these can protect you from falling victim to this type of fraud. Of course these fraudsters can’t always be avoided, so if you do think you have been targeted, make sure to report your suspicions.”
As the IFB says, ‘Crash for Cash’ scams involve innocent drivers are typically carried out by fraudsters who slam on their brake at busy junctions and roundabouts so the driver behind cannot stop in time. Sometimes this is done with an accomplice in a second vehicle driving erratically in front, so they can divert the victim’s suspicions by saying the driver in front (who has since fled the scene) caused the accident.
They are also known to encourage other drivers to pull out of side roads or wait until they creep forward for a better view, only to crash into the side of them.
What to do
If you have evidence of a ‘Crash for Cash’ scam, it should be reported to the IFB’s confidential Cheatline service at insurancefraudbureau.org/cheatline or 0800 422 0421. It should also be reported to the police via Action Fraud at actionfraud.police.uk or 0300 123 2040.