Bumper rip-off : ‘Crash for cash’ gangs in huge car insurance scam

The moment when a “crash for cash” gang targeted an innocent victim by creating a motorway accident has been caught on tape. The shock scenes – go to ind.pn/1mDThcf to see them – were taken from the victim’s car and used in court to help convict the criminals.

The driver became yet another victim of the so-called “slam-on” scam. This is when the motorist in front slams on their brakes for no apparent reason, causing drivers behind to crash into them.

The latest staged “accident” caught on film is just one example of what is becoming the most common type of fraud in the UK, according to Aviva. The insurer says motor injury fraud now accounts for 54 per cent of Aviva’s total detected claims fraud costs. And more than half are from organised so-called “cash for crash” claims.

The fraud is often linked to wider gang-related crime – and puts innocent motorists at risk.

One of the more audacious  accidents took place in Newcastle in 2009 when a mini-bus allegedly travelling from Newcastle to Edinburgh for a stag event was supposed to have caused a collision with another car in a tunnel, resulting in alleged whiplash injuries to all the occupants.

 

The scale of the injuries proportional to the supposed collision raised several suspicions and further investigation by Aviva’s Special Investigations Unit and local police was able to prove that the accident was entirely bogus.

Specifically, CCTV showed that the other vehicle involved in the accident wasn’t at the scene at all. Aviva also linked the driver and passenger of the other vehicle to the occupants of the mini bus through social media sites.

Instead of the reported  collision, the mini-bus had been deliberately damaged elsewhere and then taken to the scene of the incident, where debris was scattered and the accident “staged”.

Tom Gardiner, head of fraud at Aviva, said: “We are witnessing a trend towards third party, injury and organised fraud. For example, in 2013, we identified fraud in one in nine of third party injury claims.” The insurance giant said it detected more than £110m-worth of fraud in 2013 – a 19 per cent increase compared with the previous year.

It said it detects more than 45 fraudulent claims per day, which are collectively worth more than £300,000.

According to figures  published earlier this year by LV=, 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 an insurance swindle.

“A combination of factors including the economic  climate, social attitudes toward insurance fraud as a ‘victimless crime’, and a lack of effective deterrents are increasing the frequency of fraud,” said Aviva’s Mr Gardiner.

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