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'Cash for crash' scam targets drivers

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AdverseDeviant    3

The number of staged car accidents, where someone deliberately crashes into an innocent motorist and claims on insurance or demands cash, is on the rise. But how do you know if you are a victim and what should you do?

As a former lorry driver, Paul had always felt confident of his driving abilities. But as he drove home from his job as a charity volunteer there was nothing he could do when a car braked sharply in front of him at a busy town roundabout. "I did my best but I slid into him," says Paul. "We pulled up and he gave me his name and address, which he seemed to have written out already. "I definitely felt it was a scam. There was very little damage done and yet he claimed about ?32,000, which included a tow truck when none was needed. I nearly fell off my seat."

His experience is similar to that of Stuart, who was looking for a parking place near his home in east London when another vehicle collided with his MGF sports car. Three men got out of the car, one of whom demanded ?50 and threatened to collect it from him at his home later that evening. He refused to give them the money and instead offered his insurance details. A month later Stuart received a letter from the men's solicitor demanding an inflated sum of money for whiplash injuries and damage to the car. "I believe it was a staged accident," says Stuart, who reported his suspicion to the police.

Braking hard

There are a number of ways the criminals operate, says Det Chief Supt Steve Wilmott of the City of London Police, which is investigating four suspected fraud cases, each involving more than 70 car accidents. "One way is that they will drive with two or three people in their vehicle and will select a fairly new vehicle with one or two people or maybe a family inside. "Then they will deliberately collide with it, either by side-swiping it or by braking hard in front of the vehicle, and then they will claim against insurance for whiplash or other injuries."

A survey suggests these so-called "cash for crash" cases are part of a new crime trend that many drivers are unaware of. Out of 2,418 drivers questioned by YouGov on behalf of insurers' Royal and SunAlliance, 41% had never heard of the crime and a further 40% would not know if they had been in a staged accident. The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), which was set up by insurers last year to deal with fraud cases, says that bogus and inflated claims like those from deliberate accidents cost more than ?1.5 billion a year. They say this adds five per cent to premiums. John Beadle, IFB chairman, said: "Staged motor accidents are on the rise and are potentially extremely dangerous. "Not only do they cost honest drivers millions of pounds each year but they also put innocent motorists in danger."

Police and insurers have issued advice to people on what can arouse suspicions an accident has been faked.A driver braking suddenly in front for no apparent reason is a common feature, especially after erratic behaviour or tailing for long periods. Any demands for money on-the-spot should be rejected in favour of exchanging insurance details. And police advise that any suspicions should be reported.These warnings may have come too late for Paul and Stuart but they hope their stories will help to make other drivers more aware.

[url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6248515.stm]http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6248515.stm[/u

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ShadowPHP    3

Wicked Idea. I could do with some cash now.

Although it is fraud and thats Illegal!.

Hopefully I will never be a victim of this.

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WooSH    0

wow. but how would the scammers get money if very little damage was done?

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AdverseDeviant    3

claiming some kind of injury

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zeroday    19

That is just sad and sick :no:

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samg    2

i heard about this in the UK a year ago. I find it hard to believe the government hasn't passed a law about these cases, making it so its not instantly the fault of the person who hit the back of the fraudsters.

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Inertia    41

Interesting raed, thanks, i learned something new.

/edit

by new i meant to look out for, not to try for myself :p

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Mouldy Punk    11

That's why, ladies and gentlemen, you whip out your camera phone and film him shaking his head around when he gets out the car. Show that to a court and it'll prove that he's faking the injuries and might even end up in prison.

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Ferret    6
That's why, ladies and gentlemen, you whip out your camera phone and film him shaking his head around when he gets out the car. Show that to a court and it'll prove that he's faking the injuries and might even end up in prison.

I never thought of doing that, but should it happen to me, I will have to whip out the camera.

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