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February 15, 2017
‘Crash For Cash’ (CFC) scams are exactly what they sound like; but they’re officially defined by theInsurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) as a scam that aims to “stage or deliberately cause a road traffic collision solely for the purpose of financial gain.” Crash For Cash scams are such a serious issue in the UK that it’s estimated that it costs motorists around £340 million a year, and over the years they have become more and more sophisticated.

Some CFC scams don’t even involve a ‘crash’ at all, in fact many will involve simulated accidents between two fraudsters, often manufacturing the damage themselves, or potentially not even involving any cars whatsoever and just creating fraudulent paperwork to work around insurance company systems.

The most dangerous method is the one to keep your eyes open on however, as it involves innocent members of the public. An individual fraudster, or a team, set-up potentially dangerous driving situations to cause the victim's car to crash into the one owned by the scammers making a member of the public the ‘guilty’ party. The most common method of this involves the offending car indicating and then sharply pulling out in front of the victim and braking harshly, causing them to shunt the back of the scammer. In this situation, the car crashing into the back of the and claim off the victim’s insurance for the damage to the car or will seek compensation for a seemingly unbelievable injury such as sprains, or whiplash.

However, it’s not often that the scammer acts alone - they often use a ‘second car’ that will simulate a situation that causes them to ‘brake harshly’ in the first place and then speed away, or they will plant fake witnesses that can testify on the behalf of the scammer to win the case, making it even more difficult for the victim to protest innocence. They can also potentially use dodgy garages and recovery companies, to ensure their claim is processed as they want.

Not only does this clearly put multiple innocent lives at risk, especially if performed at a busy road or junction, but as well as the obvious risks to safety, they can often cause innocent motorists to lose their no-claims bonus or be hit by hikes in their premium following the accident. Sometimes people can often not know they’ve been involved in a CFC scam, however there are some clear tell-tale signs the IFB have identified;
  • The other driver is unusually calm or rehearsed for someone who has just been in a car crash.
  • They provide you with their insurance details ‘pre-written’ or in a much quicker fashion that usual.
  • They are claiming injuries that care unusually at odds with the force of the impact.
  • They are unwilling to involve the police, or insist the use of their breakdown or recovery services.

Also, the growing popularity of Dashcams and other in-car cameras are making it difficult for scammers to easily get away with CFC fraud, clearly revealing their suspicious driving habits in the instance of the crash - a small investment can easily save you some money and slap these fraudsters behind bars! If you are a resident in Bradford or Birmingham, make sure to keep an eye out as these are the areas reported to have the highest rated CFC hotspots in the UK. 

If you’re ever involved in a crash that seems suspicious, make sure to take down as much information about the incident as you can involving license plates, passengers, e.t.c, call the police and report your suspicions as soon as you can (this is where the dashcam footage can really help!) and call the IFB’s cheatline on 0800 422 0421 as your information might be linked to a wider, syndicated scam.