Police in Harrow have raided the homes of a seven-strong gang of insurance con merchants. It is believed that the gang were responsible for at least 60 “accidents” and claimed over £500,000 from the insurers and had spent the money on a luxury lifestyle, including BMW X5s and a Ferrari (more). (Link Removed)
But this is no victimless crime, some solicitors have estimated that false claims add as much as £120 to the average annual premium.
One of the most common, and most distressing of the fraudster’s tactics is to buy an old banger and then brake suddenly on a roundabout or slip road, causing a target vehicle, usually a nice-looking family car, to go into the back of them. Their car will be crammed full of fraudsters who will “sustain” hard to disprove “injuries” such as whiplash. More of their mates will be nearby in order to “witness” the incident, and back up their dodgy version of events.
This is obviously extremely distressing for the innocent parties involved, not to mention costly. And as a number of criminal gangs are carrying out these scams up and down the country, you’ll need to keep your wits about you to avoid being caught by the crooks. Here are our top tips:
- When on slip roads or roundabouts, pay close attention to the car in front and cut your speed to maintain a safe stopping distance.
- Take extra care at ‘hotspots’ – the M62, M61 and junction 21 of the M6 are particular favourites of the bandits.
- Keep half an eye on the occupants of heavily loaded cars around you. Are they behaving oddly?
- If there is a crash and you are suspicious, discreetly take written notes of pertinent details. Record the incident while it is fresh in your mind. Take particular note of the occupants in the other car and keep descriptions of their appearance.
- Keep as calm as possible at all times – your insurer will deal with the matter. Make sure you take all the details of the other parties.
Meanwhile, time is running out for the racketeers, as a new computer system comes on stream next month. The Insurance Fraud Bureau will share intelligence on suspect claims and use the new technology to sift through millions of cases looking for suspicious patterns or links between claims.