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Warning issued as increase in ‘crash for cash’ scammers on mopeds targeting innocent motorists

By Tom Gibson | June 20, 2023

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Thugs are driving head first into cars and it’s feared thousands of drivers have fallen victim to the scam across the UK

An appeal has been launched to help motorists learn the warning signs of a crash for cash scam that’s already claimed thousands of victims.

Fraudsters on mopeds are driving head-first into vehicles and many of the scammers are believed to be couriers delivering items including takeaways, according to the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).

Nearly every UK insurer has received bogus claims - collectively valued at £27m - with over 2,200 victims in London alone in the last two years, where it has "become epidemic".

It’s estimated thousands of drivers have been unknowingly targeted across the country and an appeal has been launched to help people spot the signs of a scam.

How does the scam work?

Unlike traditional crash for cash scams where fraudsters slam on their car's brake in hope that the victim behind cannot stop in time, this new con sees – usually a moped driver – drive directly at oncoming cars.

The moped scammer hides out of sight in a side road or parking space, and then deliberately drives into the victim.

They then usually throw their moped to the ground and drop to the floor to dramatise an injury, and then miraculously recover just in time to take photos of the incident.

The fraudsters sometimes work in small teams or as partners so there are always witnesses to the incidents.

There have also been reports of accomplices using vans to completely obscure the victim's view before the moped drives into them.

Most reported incidents have taken place in north London, where residents have been told to be vigilant of any moped users who appear to be lingering unnecessarily on public roads.

The issue of crash for cash moped scams in the capital has now grown to become the IFB's biggest ever investigation.

What the experts say

Ursula Jallow, director at IFB, said: "Crash for cash moped scams have become epidemic in our capital.

"These dangerous fraudsters are driving head-first into unsuspecting motorists, leaving countless victims terrified and insurers facing millions of pounds in bogus claims."

Matthew Stevens, anti-fraud director at insurer Hastings Direct, said this type of fraud "not only has a negative impact on insurance premiums, it is also very dangerous".

"It is a clear demonstration that these criminals have no regard for public safety and no concern for innocent and unsuspecting road users, who are often left traumatised following these incidents," he added.

Mark Allen, from the Association of British Insurers, said: "Staged crash for cash scams are a dangerous menace on our roads.

"Often highly organised, and constantly looking for new targets to exploit, these criminals put lives at risk.

"The industry is determined to do all it can to protect innocent motorists from these frauds through working collaboratively to drive this scourge from our roads."

Anyone who thinks they have been targeted in a crash for cash moped scam can contact police if they feel in any immediate danger and inform their insurer of the incident.

Evidence of the scam can be reported to IFB's confidential Cheatline service, via an online form or by calling 0800 422 0421.

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