Motor Industry News
Motorists across the country are at increasing risk of falling victim to organised gangs, turning minor road accidents into highly lucrative insurance frauds, claim experts from mycarcheck.com. "In little more than a year there was a 175 per cent increase in reports of staged accidents being made to fraud investigators and that's just the tip of the iceberg", said Roger Powell, General Manager of mycarcheck.com, one of the UK's leading vehicle data checking agencies.
Fraud investigators believe there are at least 20 organised gangs involved in staged car accident rings operating in the UK at a cost of more than £200m a year to the insurance industry. In the last nine years there have been more than 25,000 staged traffic accidents recorded - but that figure is believed to be only a small proportion of the real problem.
"Innocent members of the public are increasingly being caught up in staged car accidents which can be very dangerous," said Mr Powell. "They usually involve someone deliberately crashing into a car in order to make a claim against the innocent driver's insurance. The problem shows no sign of abating as just last year there were around 3,500 staged car accidents."
"Staged accidents are a day-to-day reality that we're all living with. Everyone in the country is affected by this malpractice as we all end up paying a higher insurance premium as a result." Criminals often select a vehicle they know to be insured, such as a fairly new family vehicle, company car or van belonging to a big organisation, and then deliberately cause an accident so they can claim compensation.
"If anybody claims to be injured at the scene of an accident the police should always be called," advised Mr Powell. "Drivers involved in accidents, no matter how minor, should take as many details as possible from the person they collided with, including the names of everyone in the vehicles. It's not unusual for crooks to claim later that there were several other people in their car and that they all suffered whiplash."
"Usually if these people stage an accident they will try to convince the victim not to contact the police just to exchange details."
"Anybody who is involved in an accident they think is suspicious should call the police, get as many details they can and even photographs of the damage if possible. If it is genuine most people won't mind, but if the accident has been staged the crooks might just drive off."