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‘Crash for Cash’ fraud costing UK motorists £392 million – new report

22 November 2012

  • 1 in 7 personal injury claims linked to ‘Crash for Cash’ scams
  • 1 in 12 people would consider taking part in ‘Crash for Cash’ - Ipsos MORI research
  • 40 ‘Crash for Cash’ gangs currently under investigation across UK.


‘Crash for Cash’ fraudsters are “gambling with the lives of UK motorists” and costing honest policyholders nearly £400 million every year, according to a new report published today by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).

The ‘Crash for Cash’ phenomenon sees criminal gangs deliberately causing crashes with innocent motorists and faking accidents across the UK to make fraudulent insurance claims.   

Fraudsters make money from the crashes by submitting exaggerated claims including personal injury and loss of earnings, car hire and damage repair, even claims for bogus passengers. The financial consequence is that every honest policyholder picks up the collective bill for the fraud through increased premiums.

Established to clamp down on criminal gangs masterminding ‘Crash for Cash’ scams, the IFB links one in seven personal injury claims (69,500) to organised fraud in its new report, ‘Crash for Cash – putting the brakes on fraud’. The report urges members of the public to blow the whistle on ‘Crash for Cash’ fraudsters by calling the Cheatline – powered by Crimestoppers – anonymously, on 0800 422 0421.   

David Neave, Chairman of the IFB, said:

“Fraudsters don’t just scam the insurance industry; they pick the pocket of every honest policyholder whose premiums increase to cover the costs of fraud. But in ‘Crash for Cash’, insurance fraud poses even starker risks to society. Fraudsters motivated by greed are gambling with the lives of innocent motorists by deliberately causing crashes up and down the country.

“Criminal gangs organising multi-million pound ‘Crash for Cash’ scams are also using the profits of their fraud to fund other crimes plaguing our society, including illegal firearms, drug dealing and people trafficking. Far from being a victimless crime, insurance fraud is serious and something we all need to be wary of.”


The IFB is currently coordinating 40 live police operations across the UK, investigating and dismantling criminal gangs organising ‘Crash for Cash’ scams worth £66.6 million in potential loses to insurers.

The ‘Crash for Cash’ report exposes the methods of those criminal gangs who actively recruit and coerce people from local communities to stage and induce crashes for cash payments. The gangs’ webs of deceit run deep, with recovery and storage companies, motor engineers, car repair body shops, doctors and lawyers amongst the professionals being corrupted or duped into helping present genuine-looking claims to insurers.

DCI Dave Wood, Head of the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) – a dedicated police unit tackling insurance fraudsters across the UK – said:

“‘Crash for Cash’ is a crime this country can ill-afford, putting innocent drivers at risk on our roads and leaving honest policyholders out of pocket.

“IFED’s first year in operation has found that although methods can vary, the objective remains the same, with organised crime groups stopping at nothing in their attempts to con insurers out of tens of thousands of pounds per incident.

“The IFB’s report sheds light on the murky world of ‘Crash for Cash’, spelling out the clear threats it continues to pose to the public and assisting the work IFED are doing to bring those responsible to justice.”


-    1 in 7 personal injury claims linked to ‘Crash for Cash’ scams
-    1 in 12 people would consider taking part in ‘Crash for Cash’ – Ipsos MORI research
-    40 ‘Crash for Cash’ gangs currently under investigation across UK.

‘Crash for Cash’ fraudsters are “gambling with the lives of UK motorists” and costing honest policyholders nearly £400 million every year, according to a new report published today by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).

The ‘Crash for Cash’ phenomenon sees criminal gangs deliberately causing crashes with innocent motorists and faking accidents across the UK to make fraudulent insurance claims.   

Fraudsters make money from the crashes by submitting exaggerated claims including personal injury and loss of earnings, car hire and damage repair, even claims for bogus passengers. The financial consequence is that every honest policyholder picks up the collective bill for the fraud through increased premiums.

Established to clamp down on criminal gangs masterminding ‘Crash for Cash’ scams, the IFB links one in seven personal injury claims (69,500) to organised fraud in its new report, ‘Crash for Cash – putting the brakes on fraud’. The report urges members of the public to blow the whistle on ‘Crash for Cash’ fraudsters by calling the Cheatline – powered by Crimestoppers – anonymously, on 0800 422 0421.   

David Neave, Chairman of the IFB, said:

“Fraudsters don’t just scam the insurance industry; they pick the pocket of every honest policyholder whose premiums increase to cover the costs of fraud. But in ‘Crash for Cash’, insurance fraud poses even starker risks to society. Fraudsters motivated by greed are gambling with the lives of innocent motorists by deliberately causing crashes up and down the country.

“Criminal gangs organising multi-million pound ‘Crash for Cash’ scams are also using the profits of their fraud to fund other crimes plaguing our society, including illegal firearms, drug dealing and people trafficking. Far from being a victimless crime, insurance fraud is serious and something we all need to be wary of.”

The IFB is currently coordinating 40 live police operations across the UK, investigating and dismantling criminal gangs organising ‘Crash for Cash’ scams worth £66.6 million in potential loses to insurers.

The ‘Crash for Cash’ report exposes the methods of those criminal gangs who actively recruit and coerce people from local communities to stage and induce crashes for cash payments. The gangs’ webs of deceit run deep, with recovery and storage companies, motor engineers, car repair body shops, doctors and lawyers amongst the professionals being corrupted or duped into helping present genuine-looking claims to insurers.

DCI Dave Wood, Head of the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) – a dedicated police unit tackling insurance fraudsters across the UK – said:

“‘Crash for Cash’ is a crime this country can ill-afford, putting innocent drivers at risk on our roads and leaving honest policyholders out of pocket.

“IFED’s first year in operation has found that although methods can vary, the objective remains the same, with organised crime groups stopping at nothing in their attempts to con insurers out of tens of thousands of pounds per incident.

“The IFB’s report sheds light on the murky world of ‘Crash for Cash’, spelling out the clear threats it continues to pose to the public and assisting the work IFED are doing to bring those responsible to justice.”

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When a 'Crash for Cash' fraudster wins, everybody loses