The 30 UK postcodes where the most drivers have fallen victim to crash-for-cash scams in the last year have been revealed – and it doesn’t make great reading if you live in the Midlands or the North of England.
Birmingham appears most frequently in the top 30 list – in fact, five Birmingham postcodes are among the top 10 locations where fraudulent accidents have been masterminded, according to data from the Insurance Fraud Bureau.
The IFB said it knows of one instance where a crash-for-cash victim has died as a result of one of the preempted collisions.
Crash-for-cash scam hotspots: The Insurance Fraud Bureau has listed the 30 postcodes where drivers have reported the most fraudulent accident attempts in the country
While Birmingham postcodes were most prominent, the Manchester postal area was also a regular in the list with five appearances in the top 30.
Neighbouring Oldham and Bolton also appeared in the list, compounding the misery for drivers in the north west.
West Yorkshire was another notable crash-for-cash hotbed, with Bradford postcodes being listed five times in the top 30.
The IFB said it hopes to use the new data to identify the areas being targeted to carry out these scams, working closely with the police and insurers to stem the spate of deliberate accidents and put the criminals responsible for them behind bars.
A third of the postcodes to feature in the top 30 areas rife with crash-for-cash scams were in Birmingham, IFB stats showed
Ben Fletcher, Director of the IFB said: ‘These scams may seem to some to be a harmless way to beat the system and get an easy pay out with minimal risk.
‘The reality is that not only do those people now stand a very good chance of getting caught and facing the consequences, but these scams put other motorist’s lives at risk.
What is a crash-for-cash scam?
Crash-for-cash scams involve fraudsters staging accidents by deliberately damaging a vehicle or causing a collision on the road on purpose, solely in a bid to make money.
These criminals often target innocent road users in order to profit from fraudulent insurance claims, which puts motorist’s lives at risk.
Fraudulent motor claims submitted following the accident can also result in false personal injury and credit hire claims.
Crash-for-cash scams alone are estimated to cost the insurance industry £336 million each year, with a single collision potentially worth tens of thousands of pounds.
‘Fraudsters are taking vehicles out on public roads and forcing innocent people into needless collisions. Not only does that present a real risk of injury, but sadly we know of at least one fatality that has occurred as a result of these incredibly dangerous and reckless incidents.
‘These hotspots may be the worst affected areas for these types of scams, but crash for cash collisions can happen anywhere, so it’s imperative that road users are aware of them, exercise appropriate caution and if they believe they’ve been a victim, report it as soon as they can.’
Last year, the Insurance Fraud Taskforce (IFT) introduced a set of measures aimed at curbing the increasing number of fraudulent crash-for-cash attempts being made by scammers.
This included insurance data being shared with anti-fraud organisations and collaborative work between regulatory bodies and the insurance sector to identify those masterminding the criminal activity.
However, research by insurer Aviva said it detects a new crash-for-cash claimant every three hours since the IFT’s planned crackdown.
At least one victim of a crash-for-cash accident in the last year died because of the collision
For the meantime, the IFB has warned motorists to remain vigilant for ‘tell-tale signs’ of crash-for-cash attempts.
It identified three things to look out for, which included the other driver being far too calm for someone who has just been involved in a car accident, the other party already having their insurance details written down prior to the collision and complaints of injuries that would be at odds with the force of the impact.
The IFB added that any driver who fears they may have been a victim of one of these scams should note down as much information about the accident as possible and take photos of the scene as reference.
It is also recommended that drivers call the police to report suspicions and report it to the IFB’s Cheatline either online or by calling the free phone number 0800 422 0421.
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