Public warned to watch out for job ad scams as fraudsters capitalise on Covid-19 disruption
08 January 2021
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) is warning members of the public to watch out for insurance scams that continue to exploit the financial loss people are facing as a result of the disruption of Covid-19.
Currently at least one insurance scam takes place each minute in the UK leaving victims devastated and costing honest consumers more than £3 billion each year. There are concerns the current economic climate could see this figure rise further.
The IFB which is at the heart of the UK’s fight against organised insurance fraud has identified several scams that the public should be aware of.
Delivery driver job ad scams
IFB Investigators have noticed more fraudsters are exploiting the state of the job market by using recruitment as a tool to phish for personal information and insurance details from job applicants.
Most notably, this has been seen with bogus delivery driver roles which are frequently being advertised on social media and some classified ad websites.
Job seekers will be told that their application has been successful and then asked to hand over their details, leaving them with their identities stolen and their insurance policy being used to help facilitate ‘Crash for Cash’ scams - often used to fabricate road traffic collisions.
With more people out of work due to the disruption of Covid-19 and a surge in demand for delivery services, job applicants should be extra cautious of any suspicious looking job ads.
This is when a fraudster or unscrupulous firm contacts someone out of the blue to tell them they may be entitled to compensation.
If convinced, victims will hand over their personal details which can be used to steal their identity or bank funds, or they could be encouraged to take out a fraudulent insurance claim.
With record numbers out of work or losing money due to the disruption of Covid-19, these scammers may offer to recover financial losses incurred as a result of the pandemic.
‘Ghost Broker’ scams
A ‘Ghost Broker’ is a fraudster who poses as an insurance provider to target people who struggle financially with unrealistically cheap fraudulent insurance deals on social media.
These fraudsters are known for selling fake car insurance. However, with Covid-19 impacting so many people’s work and travel plans, ‘Ghost Brokers’ could also offer deals that claim to compensate further disruption.
Some 'Ghost Broker' fraudsters have also been found promoting deals that are exclusively for Key Workers.
‘Ghost Broker’ scams are rising. The IFB has seen its percentage of investigations into the issue double in recent years. Research also shows one in three 18-24 year-olds has seen a suspicious insurance advert on social media.
Ben Fletcher, Director of the IFB, said:
“Insurance fraud thrives in times of financial hardship and the continued disruption of Covid-19 sadly keeps bringing opportunities for fraudsters to target those most vulnerable. From the elderly to key workers, we’ve seen them get targeted.”
“It’s never been more important for the public to remain vigilant to the slew of scams out there. If anyone sees something that doesn’t look right, they should report it to the IFB’s confidential Cheatline straight away on 0800 422 0421.”
Evidence of an insurance scam can be reported to the IFB’s confidential and anonymous Cheatline (powered by Crimestoppers) on 0800 422 0421 or online.
The IFB uses information from Cheatline reports to work with insurers, the police and industry watchdogs to help fight fraud, keep people safe and keep consumer costs down.
More information on a wide range of common insurance scams can be found on the IFB’s Stop the Scams campaign page.