The police launched a dramatic crackdown on the practice of ghost broking this week by arresting 27 people in dawn swoops on Wednesday.
Ghost brokers target vulnerable people with offers of low-cost car insurance. But the policies they sell are far from genuine. Some produce fake documentation to trick people into paying for non-existent policies. Others take out a genuine policy but then cancel it and pocket the refund, leaving their victims unknowingly driving around in an unisured car.
It has become a major problem and the police swooped on the crooks this week in Leicestershire, London, Manchester, Thames Valley and the West Midlands following months of investigation.
DCI Dave Wood, head of the City of London Police's Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, said: "The consequences for innocent motorists who fall victims to ghost brokers can be dire, so it is absolutely vital that drivers shopping for car insurance online, or through other means, question what they are being offered to ensure they get a real deal."
Sue Jones, head of group financial crime at LV, said: "Ghost brokers are becoming more sophisticated in deceiving honest motorists to hand over their cash in return for a cheap policy.Some are setting up on free advertising websites promising cheaper premiums for high-risk drivers, such as younger drivers and those living in high-risk areas."
If you are concerned that your motor cover may not be from a legitimate broker, check the Financial Conduct Authority register to ensure they are FCA registered. Then, once you've received confirmation of cover, check AskMID.com to see if your vehicle shows as insured.
"However, even if it does show on the database initially, the policy will be removed by the insurer if it is found to be based on falsified information," warned Ms Jones.