Accidents happen out on the roads for one reason and another, and even the tamest of impacts can be quite traumatising for motorists, never mind the high-impact incidents. It’s sickening to know that on our roads there are fraudsters who are actively trying their best to get involved in car crashes to rinse money through insurance claims.
The common term used for these scams nowadays is ‘crash for cash’ - not only is intentionally crashing a car extremely dangerous, but it is also thought to cost the UK insurance industry about £340million every single year.
Accident Exchange, ‘AX’, has listed the 5 most common tactics used by fraudsters to cause an accident.
1 - Slamming on. This is simply where a vehicle will simply slam on their brakes, hoping to catch the driver of the vehicle behind off guard so that they plough into the back of the fraudster. Typically, the following car would always be ‘at fault’ for not leaving enough braking distance and not reacting in time. The best way to prevent becoming a victim of this is by always leaving ample room between yourself and the car in front, and of course, always remaining attentive.
2 - Flash for cash. This is when the offending vehicle flashes their lights even when it is their own right of the way, to encourage their victim to pull out into the road, at this point the fraudster will drive straight into them. Again, the offending vehicle has the ‘right of way’ and the fraudster would then claim they are not at fault. To avoid this, be careful not to pull out until the road is clear, or if you are being let out by a vehicle, wait for them to come to a complete stop before entering their path.
3 - Crash for ready cash. This is simply where a third party will request (or demand in some situations) cash to fix their vehicle following a collision. Avoid this by always insisting that you use your insurance and take plenty of photos of the incident.
4 - Hide and crash. This is a new one, and probably the most lethal. This is where the offending driver intentionally positions their car in an innocent vehicles blind spot, waiting for the perfect movement to pull in front of the car and slam on. This can cause a high-speed collision which can be extremely dangerous. The only advice for motorists is to pay as much attention to the road, your surroundings and your blind spots as possible.
5. Hire and crash. Finally, hire and crash. This one is a bit bizarre. Criminals hire cars, then intentionally crash them into another vehicle, typically someone they know, and then there is a claim made against the hiring company.
Help is at hand
It’s important to know where these incidents typically take place so a motorist can be more aware of what's going on in order to protect themselves. AX list the following locations favoured by fraudsters.
Major roundabouts - high volume of progressive moving cars all moving in different directions, coupled with road signs and signals, can create a confusing environment for motorists, so fraudsters will target these areas.
Small roundabouts - again, motorists are often paying attention to an awful lot of things at once when they’re on a roundabout and these roundabouts typically do not have CCTV.
Busy motorways - this is where ‘hide and crash’ scams are commonly run. Places where there is a high density of fast-moving traffic.
Traffic lights - this is where passersby and witnesses are least likely to get out and help the victim or report suspected fraud.
Side roads - this is where ‘flash and crash’ scams take place, where they’ll let you out and then go straight into you.
Tips for motorists who do get involved in an accident, whether they suspect it is fraud or not…
- Count the number of occupants
- Make a note of the names of all occupants
- Make a note of all the registrations of the vehicles involved.
- Take photographs of the cars before moving them.
- Identify any CCTV cameras, witnesses or passing cars with dash cams.
- Keep yourself and your passengers safe in case the offending vehicle becomes aggressive
Have you ever been a victim of a crash for cash scam? Let us know your story in the comments section below.