As Crash for Cash scams are the rise, we want to bring awareness to the insurance fraudsters that are intentionally crashing into UK motorists in their thousands, road safety experts have warned.
Here at Road Angel, we advise motorists on the four things to do to avoid becoming a victim of the epidemic known as ‘crash for cash’. In the latest twist on traditional ‘crash for cash’ scams, insurance fraud swindlers on mopeds are driving head-first into unsuspecting motorists up and down the country.
The insurance industry has recorded thousands of victims, with ‘crash for cash’ costing the law-abiding public an estimated £392 million a year* in higher premiums. With scammers adapting their approach to manufacturer motoring collisions it is feared thousands more drivers may not be aware they are being deceived.
A moped fraudster will usually hide out of sight around a corner and ride head-on into the victim's vehicle, throwing their own to the ground before taking photos of the incident. Traditionally, the ‘crash for cash’ scam involves the con artist slamming on the brakes, or emergency stopping, hoping that the innocent driver behind them can’t stop in time.
The shakedowns sadly cause countless injuries and more distressingly, fatalities in the most extreme cases. Some fraudsters will use an accomplice to either drive erratically in front to divert the victim’s suspicions or to obscure their view making the scam easier to carry out.
How to avoid Crash for Cash scams
Gary Digva, the visionary behind Road Angel warns motorists that incidences of these scams are on the rise, but there are driving habits that will help keep them safe.
He said: “Drivers need to be aware that fraudsters are causing motoring collisions intentionally every day so should know what to look out for.
“Allowing plenty of space to the vehicle in front and looking well ahead will give drivers enough time to anticipate any possible hazards.
“Be wary if a vehicle in front is driving erratically and focus on the vehicles themselves as fraudsters will often disable their brake lights.
“If you are in a collision and think you may have been a victim of ‘crash for cash’, don’t confront the driver, instead record as much information as you can and inform your insurer.
“Be especially wary if the other driver appears to be unphased or is exaggerating their injuries, but even if you suspect this it is best not to confront them there and then.
“The best form of evidence is recorded footage from CCTV or ideally your own dash cam that can be submitted to police and prove your innocence.”
How to prove Crash for Cash scams
If you're a victim of the dreaded 'Crash for Cash' scam, the best way to prove your innocence is no doubt a dash cam. A dash cam records everything in front of you, and with such dash cams as the Road Angel Halo Ultra, it records G-Force, location and speed, further proving your innocence.
Our Crash for Cash scam avoidance recommendations
Of course, it's better to avoid crash for cash scams as opposed to having to prove your innocence, so we've created some great advice on how to help avoid these insurance fraudsters.
Look well ahead and keep a good distance
Allowing a minimum two-second gap to the vehicle in front in dry conditions rising to four seconds in the wet. On roads with faster-flowing traffic or if visibility is reduced, increase the gap to give you enough time to react to a scammer in front slamming on their brakes and look well ahead for mopeds coming out of side roads towards you.
Be wary of erratic driving
If the vehicle in front is driving erratically or slowing down for no apparent reason this should ring the alarm bells so stay well back and don’t give them the opportunity to induce an incident. Pay particular attention if another vehicle you have noticed driving erratically flashes its headlights at you to proceed. Similarly, if you notice a car driving erratically indicating to turn into the junction you are waiting at, don't assume that they will turn and wait.
Keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour
If another vehicle is in poor condition and the driver or the passenger is behaving in a suspicious manner stay calm and keep well back. The poor condition of another vehicle includes faulty brake lights that may have been disabled intentionally. Always give yourself enough time to react.
Keep a thorough record of events
If you are in a collision you suspect may have been staged or induced, the key to not becoming a victim of a ‘crash for cash’ scam is to calmly gather evidence of the incident. Don’t admit liability, instead take photographs of the scene and make notes that can be submitted to your insurer. Seek out an independent witness if you can. Ideally, if you have a dash cam installed you will have recorded evidence of the entire incident that can be submitted to the police.