How to spot a crash-for-cash scam

How to spot a crash-for-cash scam
How to spot a crash-for-cash scam

New figures show that rising numbers of drivers are fitting dash cams, with many citing trying to avoid insurance fraud as their motivation.

Crash-for-cash scams cost almost £340 million a year, drive up insurance premiums and put innocent road users’ lives at risk.

According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), there are three types of crash-for-cash scams. One involves only vehicles owned by the criminals and another “ghost accident” involves a claim based on an accident that never happened.

The third, however, involves “manufactured” collisions – causing crashes with innocent motorists in order to make false claims for damage,personal injury, loss of earnings and more.

To stop you becoming a victim here’s how to identify and avoid the scam

Spotting a crash-for-cash scam

Watch out for erratic driving. Fraudsters will often drive erratically, slamming on their brakes for no obvious reason in order to cause the car behind to collide with them.

They sometimes also use a decoy car that will make a sudden manoeuvre, causing the other vehicle in the scam to brake sharply and induce a collision. The decoy car will then usually drive off, making it hard to prove it was part of the scam.

Watch out for passengers paying close attention to the cars behind them – they could be looking for a suitable victim.

Also be wary of flash-for-cash scams. In these a driver will flash their lights to let you out then crash into you, denying they had signalled to let you out.

Be alert to drivers or passengers complaining of injuries inconsistent with the severity of the crash.

Scammers will often already have their insurance details written down and ready to hand over.

After the incident, fraudsters will submit insurance claims often exaggerating their injuries and claiming for multiple ‘phantom’ passengers who may not have ever been in the car.

What to do

Steer clear
If you see a car being driven erratically leave a bigger gap between you and it. Even if they aren’t planning a con, you’ll give yourself more time and space to react if erratic becomes dangerous.

Take notes
If you are in a crash you suspect is a scam, don’t admit liability.

Note down as much information as you can about the crash, the driver, any passengers and the circumstances

Take photos of the incident, if it’s safe to do so

Report it
If you suspect a scam make sure you contact the police and inform them of the incident and your suspicions.

You can also report any incidents to the IFB’s Cheatline online or on 0800 422 0421

Fit a dash cam
A camera could potentially put fraudsters off targeting you but even if it doesn’t, the footage could quickly and conclusively prove your innocence and catch the scammers in the act.

Read more: 

Good news – car insurance costs drop, but only if you switch insurers

Ford Fiesta review: is petrol or diesel the supermini pick?

Jaguar F-Type - thunder in the glens

A polite notice to anyone planning a trip to Scotland – don’t bother. It’s deadly dull, the scenery is awful and the roads

Do I have to tell my car insurance provider if I've had a crash?

Car crashes range in severity from minor parking bumps to serious collisions with wide-ranging and potentially fatal consequences.In accidents

How to improve fuel efficiency and save money

Fuel prices are bouncing about all over the place at the moment but even when they’re enjoying a brief downturn the sight of a fuel warning

How to get the best deal when selling your car

It’s a sad fact of life that all but the rarest and most exotic cars depreciate. But for many of us it’s only when we come to sell