A 'Crash for Cash' every four minutes - Drivers urged to report widespread car crash scams on Crimewatch Live feature
23 March 2022
Today Ben Fletcher, Director at the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), and Matthew Hussey, T/Detective Inspector at City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), appear on BBC One’s Crimewatch Live to urge viewers to be vigilant to dangerous ‘Crash for Cash’ scams and come forward with evidence.
‘Crash for Cash’ is a worryingly common insurance scam where fraudsters invent or deliberately cause road traffic collisions, often with innocent people, in an attempt to fraudulently gain financial compensation.
IFB analysis suggests every four minutes in the UK an insurance claim is linked to suspected ‘Crash for Cash’ activity. The prevalence of these scams puts countless lives at risk and are believed to cost the economy hundreds of millions of pounds each year.
Birmingham has been found to be the worst affected area for the scam, with other hotspots including Bradford, Manchester, London and Luton.
With ‘Crash for Cash’ scams posing a significant road safety risk and concerns that the continued financial hardship many people are facing might intensify this activity, the IFB and IFED are appealing to drivers to be vigilant.
Ben Fletcher, Director at the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), said:
“Dangerous ‘Crash for Cash’ scams are taking place every day on Britain’s roads, putting everyone at risk. Because times of economic hardship are known to fuel fraudulent behaviour, it’s sadly unlikely that we’ll see fraudsters slowing down in their attempts to commit car crash scams anytime soon.
“We’re determined to stop these reckless insurance scams and bring perpetrators to justice - but we need the public’s help. We’re urging everyone to be on their guard for ‘Crash for Cash’ activity, and to report any evidence of it immediately.”
T/Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Hill at City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), said:
“‘Crash for Cash’ truly is the lowest of the low when it comes to insurance fraud. Committing fraud for financial gain is inexcusable, but putting the safety of innocent road users at risk is unforgiveable.
“Whilst IFED will always work hard to combat this type of fraud and protect drivers, we also encourage the public to learn some of the tell-tale signs of ‘Crash for Cash’ fraudsters. We hope that the advice given by IFED and the IFB on Crimewatch Live will help viewers to understand what to look out for on the roads to avoid these scams.
“If you think that you have been targeted, it is crucial that you report your suspicions.”
The IFB is a not-for-profit organisation which acts as a counter-fraud intelligence hub for the insurance industry, to detect suspicious behaviour and carry out ops with UK police forces to disrupt fraud networks.
Investigations into ‘Crash for Cash’ scams have uncovered countless instances where innocent people have sustained injuries and in some cases, tragically died from the scam.
‘Crash for Cash’ scams are typically carried out by fraudsters who slam on their brake at busy junctions and roundabouts so the driver behind won’t stop in time. Sometimes this is done with an accomplice in a second vehicle driving erratically in front, so they can divert the victim’s suspicions by saying the driver in front (who has since fled the scene) caused the accident.
They are also known to encourage other drivers to pull out of side roads or wait until they creep forward for a better view, only to crash into the side of them.
It is recommended that drivers always keep a good distance from the vehicle in front and are cautious when pulling out of side roads, to avoid being induced into a collision.
If someone suspects they’ve been involved in a ‘Crash for Cash’ common signs can include the other vehicle having pre-existing damage, such as rear dents. The driver or their passengers may appear to be unphased or exaggerate injuries after a collision. Pre-written insurance details might also be handed out.
Reporting ‘Crash for Cash’
Remember to note as much information as possible about the driver, any passengers and circumstances of the collision. This can include written information, pictures, dashcam footage and noting CCTV in the area.
Suspicions of a ‘Crash for Cash’ scam should be reported to your local police force, the IFB’s confidential and anonymous Cheatline (powered by CrimeStoppers) on 0800 422 0421 or at insurancefraudbureau.org/cheatline, and Action Fraud at police.uk or on 0300 123 2040.
Crimewatch Live is on BBC One and BBC iPlayer weekdays at 10am from Monday, 7 March to Friday 25 March 2022.