A doubling in reports of “crash for cash” incidents in the first half of 2023 is the result of the cost of living crisis, according to a leading dash cam manufacturer.
Crash for cash schemes are fraudulent insurance claims for motor collisions. They involve scammers faking collisions either on paper or physically, and can involve pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists or drivers engineering the collisions with innocent third party motorists in order to extort money. Some real world examples can be seen in the video above.
British firm Nextbase, which provided the footage and data to Driving.co.uk, says it has seen a two-fold increase in cash-for-crash videos being shared through its app to insurers in the first six months of the year, compared with the same period in 2022.
The company believes that the continuing economic hardships endured by many in the UK could mean that the sharp increase in such reports is just the beginning.
“We’re seeing a serious rise in pedestrians, cyclists and moped users attempting to fake an incident with a vehicle in order to extort money from motorists or their insurers,” said Nextbase head of road safety Bryn Brooker.
“Given the extremely grim economic picture we predict that these cash-for-crash incidents will continue to grow.”
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) has launched an urgent appeal to raise awareness of the issue, so that motorists can learn the signs of a scam. It said such fraud is worth around £27m in claims and noted more than 2,200 victims in London alone in the last two years, where investigators said the fraud has reached epidemic levels.
The IFB particularly highlighted a rise in crash for cash schemes involving mopeds (low-powered scooters), and it believes many of the scammers are couriers delivering items such as takeaway meals.
Crash for cash moped scams in the capital has now grown to become the IFB’s biggest ever investigation, according to Sky News.
Ursula Jallow, director at IFB, said: “”Crash for cash moped scams have become epidemic in our capital. These dangerous fraudsters are driving head-first into unsuspecting motorists, leaving countless victims terrified and insurers facing millions of pounds in bogus claims.”
One way drivers can help protect themselves from claims is to use a dash cam, Brooker pointed out. Referring to the video claims submitted via the Nextbase app, he said: “Luckily, everyone who is uploading this footage has clear evidence from their dash cam that they are not at fault in the incidents.
“This worrying rise in criminal behaviour underlines the absolute need for drivers to get a dash cam to protect themselves.”Follow @wdron Tweet to @wdron
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- If you were interested in the cost of living crisis creating a ‘crash for cash’ epidemic, you might want to read this article from 2014 about Vauxhalls being the most likely cars to be involved in such scams
- Also check out fake online car dealers that ‘clone’ genuine retailers and lure victims with bargains
- Worried about the cost of living crisis? Here are 12 ways to save money on your car insurance
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