Saturday, 29 August 2009
Cash for crash car insurance fraudsters are endangering the lives of innocent UK motorists and costing the industry over £200million a year. Furthermore, this cost is directly passed on to car insurance customers, bumping up the average car insurance premium by an estimated £50.
Working in organised crime rings, these fraudsters are netting hundreds of millions of pounds a year at the expense and risk of the innocent road user.
The gangs use the proceeds of their crimes to fund drug trafficking, gun running, immigration fraud and even, it has been suggested, to finance Muslim extremist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Sue Baker, head of the Insurance Fraud Bureau, the body charged with investigating these cases, said: "This is not just a crime where greedy people are lining their own pockets and driving around in flash cars and buying nice houses. It's the more sinister uses to which the money is being put."
Police warn that vigilance is needed as this wave of potentially fatal criminal activity spreads across the country. Whilst arrests and convictions have been made, the law enforcement agencies have barely cratched the surface.
Typically, fraudsters will drive to a busy road junction then perform unexpected and dangerous emergency stops, designed to cause the innocent motorist to crash into them. Claims are then made to the innocent motorists' insurance company, frequently including several fictitious injury reports from members of the criminal gang. Often, they will claim for injuries relating to people who weren't even present and use each others names to do so. Another common trick, is to remove the brake lights of the offending vehicle, making it even more likely that a crash will occur.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau
Since its formation in July 2006, the IFB has been instrumental in helping the police make nearly 300 arrests of people endangering the lives of motorists in their attempts to defraud insurers. Three police operations resulted in 29 convictions and combined prison sentences of over 20 years. These efforts are pleasing, but only represent a fraction of the this growing problem.
The IFB currently has 25 active joint police operations spread across 13 UK police forces.
John Beadle, Chairman of the IFB comments:
"The criminal gangs targeting honest motorists are ruthless. Innocent lives are being put at risk and fraudulent insurance claims add approximately £40-£50 to every premium paid by honest policy holders each year. Left unchecked these criminal networks grow rapidly, split and even franchise smaller networks which in turn grow prolifically".
"We must continue to take a rigorous approach to dealing with this significant national problem which is impacting on many towns and cities across the UK. Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime, criminals must be brought to justice. We urge anyone with information on insurance fraud to call the Bureau's free and confidential Cheatline on 0800 328 2550 or report online at
Reprinted above is the IFB top twenty areas of the UK affected by "Cash for crash" crimes.
The Bureau also produce a useful free leaflet which gives advice to the UK motorist on how to protect yourself from these fraudsters.To download a copy of this leaflet click here.
Nice 1 Limited conduct analysis of vehicle crime in the UK and employ former police officers with many years of experience in accident investigation and vehicle theft. For more information, please contact us from the details in the contact panel or read more of our articles from the archives on these pages.
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