Motorists have been given a fresh warning to be wary of "cash for cash" scammers on our roads. According to shock new figures, almost a third of a million car accidents –300,000 – have been deliberately staged in the past five years as crooks look to profit from insurance swindles.
New research from LV, the insurer, suggests that more than 1,000 drivers a week end up as innocent victims of the road traffic robbers.
The company warned that more than 30,000 people have been a victim of a "slam-on" scam in the past year. This is when the driver in front slams on their brakes for no apparent reason, causing drivers behind to crash into them.
Meanwhile one in 30 drivers believe they were involved in a "flash for cash" scam in 2013. This is when a fraudster flashes their headlights to let you merge into traffic, but will then drive ahead and crash into the back of your motor.
John O'Roarke, managing director of LV car insurance, said: "Every year there are tens of thousands of staged accidents, which are putting the safety of innocent motorists at risk.
"Fraud is not a victim-less crime and the cost of paying fraudulent claims drives up the cost of car insurance for all."
He said there has been a marked increase in fraudsters exaggerating the circumstances of an accident – or inventing passengers – in an attempt to get much bigger payouts.
One in three drivers involved in an accident in the past two years said that the other party tried to claim compensation for injuries to passengers who weren't in the vehicle at the time, or exaggerated the circumstances of the accident in order to inflate their claim.