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
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.
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
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.