The police are stepping up their fight against "ghost brokers" who target vulnerable people with offers of low-cost car insurance that prove to be non-existent.
They prey on those forced to pay the highest premiums – young drivers – by offering cheap deals online and in person by the roadside, in restaurants and cafés and even on university campuses.
Last month, after a series of dawn raids across the country, the police charged 27 people with ghost broking. This week they launched an awareness campaign and an animated video – at www.getarealdeal.co.uk – to help inform more people about the problem.
"We hope to make life more difficult for the fraudsters and easier for drivers," said Dominic Parkin, of the police's insurance fraud department.
Sue Jones, insurer LV's head of group financial crime, said: "Ghost broking is a terrible scam, where victims not only lose their cash but they risk a criminal record.
"Driving a vehicle without insurance, or allowing your vehicle to be used by another driver without insurance, is a serious motoring offence."
She said LV has identified more than 60 fraud rings.