Fraudsters appear to be targeting lone women drivers in order to make fraudulent insurance claims.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau and police are warning motorists to be aware of the scam which has been reported around the UK this week.
The scam involves a car suddenly braking on a roundabout, zebra crossing, or the like despite there being no traffic oncoming, causing a crash.
According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau, which works with insurers and the police to identify where the trends are, with an induced accident the fraudster targets an innocent motorist to become the ‘at fault’ driver.
Typically the fraudster’s car will pull in front of the victim, slam on the brakes and – if the driver behind can’t stop in time – be shunted from the rear.
The bureau warns: “Fraudsters often disable brake lights on their vehicles to give the unsuspecting victim no chance of stopping in time.
“Over the years methods have become increasingly sophisticated, involving more than one participant, decoy vehicles and fake witnesses.
“By targeting motorists on UK roads, fraudsters are gambling with the lives of innocent people.
“Beyond the obvious safety implications, innocent victims of induced accidents can lose their no-claims bonus and see their premium rise following the ‘accident’.”
One woman who experienced this scam found herself behind the men’s car at the roundabout and described their technique for inducing the accident.
“We came up to the second roundabout, everything was fine, they went. Then all of a sudden, as you go to make your final check to your right for oncoming traffic, they slam on their brakes so that you go into the back of them.
“Thankfully, I barely touched them so there wasn’t much damage, and someone behind me witnessed it and pulled over.
“The men were very insistent that the witness should leave, that she didn’t need to be there and that everything was fine.”
The woman who was targeted by the men was wary because she had read about similar incidents happening.
She noticed that the driver did not take any photos or assess the damage, and she described him as “strangely calm.”
“He had a piece of paper and a pen ready to go and all he was interested in was taking my details,” she said.
“Before the woman stopped both of the men got out the car as if to intimidate me,” she added. “As soon as the witness got out of her car, the passenger jumped straight back in and just didn’t say a word.”
She believes the men could be seeking to get money off people if the gang don’t end up making a claim because he tried to ring her several times to tell her that his car bumper was hanging off.
She knew he was lying, however, as she had taken photos immediately after the accident.
The police do not typically handle these types of issues because they are considered insurance fraud, and are therefore primarily managed by the insurance companies.
However, the police advise motorists involved in these types of accidents to use their phone to capture as much photographic evidence as possible, providing it is safe to do so.
They also recommended fitting a dashboard video camera.
If you believe you are a victim of a cash for crash the police advise reporting the incident to them, alerting your insurer at the earliest opportunity, and checking they will not automatically pay out a claim without an investigation.
More information can be found at www.insurancefraudbureau.org
You can also report incidents to the Insurance Fraud Bureau, either confidentially or completely anonymously, 24/7, by calling 0800 422 0421.