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Crimestoppers and IFB Appeal To The Public To Share Information On Criminals Staging Car Accidents And Risking Public Safety

02 December 2013

  • Locations identified where claimants in suspected ‘Crash for Cash’ scams are most likely to be found.

  • ‘Crash for Cash’ scams are deliberate car crashes carried out by organised gangs committing insurance fraud on a multi-million pound scale.

  • The industry has partnered with crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers to raise public awareness of the issue.

  • Public urged to report suspicions to charity powered anonymous Cheatline and help bring criminals to justice.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) and Crimestoppers are today alerting motorists to the nation’s ‘Crash for Cash’ hotspots and launching a campaign appealing for information on those making bogus claims, in a crime that collectively costs policyholders over £390 million every year.

Motorists in a number of hotspot areas are being warned to be particularly vigilant as these cities include some of the postal districts with the highest concentration of claimants connected to suspected ‘Crash for Cash’ scams in the country.

The campaign, being backed by the insurance industry, aims to raise public awareness of the ‘Crash for Cash’ phenomenon, whereby criminals target innocent and unsuspecting motorists with the intention of staging crashes in order to make claims against them. By reporting suspicions anonymously via the Cheatline, the public can provide important information, which will complement insurance industry data, and help identify the criminals behind these dangerous and unnecessary collisions.

Whilst the scam is a nationwide problem, the campaign focuses where perpetrators are most prevalent, with information being distributed to postal districts within cities that occupy the top of the ‘Crash for Cash’ hotspots list: Bradford, Birmingham, Bolton, Manchester, London, Liverpool and Halifax.

By exaggerating claims for personal injury, vehicle damage and car hire, individual claims made by scammers can be as much as £30,000. The result is that honest motorists foot the bill, as insurance companies pay out for accidents that have been caused deliberately by the fraudster.

In many cases these crashes are coordinated beyond individual towns and cities by organised criminal gangs making hundreds of claims. These gangs use the considerable profits they make through crash for cash activity to fund their on-going criminal network, with the average scam investigated by the IFB estimated to be worth £1.7 million.

Case studies:

In September 2013, a gang of eleven individuals that deliberately crashed a 12 tonne bus with 26 passengers on board as part of a huge 'Crash for Cash' scam in Sheffield were found guilty of playing a part in a fraud conspiracy worth almost £500,000.

‘Crash for Cash’ statistics:

1 in 7 personal injury claims linked to suspected 'Crash for Cash' scams.

£392m = annual cost of 'Crash for Cash' fraud.

£1.7m = average value of scams investigated by the IFB.

£50 = annual cost of fraud to household insurance bills.

1 in 10 motorists would consider taking part in 'Crash for Cash' scams for financial reward.

Ben Fletcher, IFB Director, said: “Far from being a victimless crime, ‘Crash for Cash’ scams hit motorists in the pocket and put other road users in harm’s way. While the hotspots show where fraudsters are prevalent the reality is that staged accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. Working with police forces across the country we’ve secured over 850 arrests to date and information from the Cheatline will help us bring more of these criminals to justice.”

Director of Operations for Crimestoppers, Roger Critchell, said: “This is a serious and organised crime that funds other crimes, including weapons and drug smuggling. For this reason I would urge anyone who has information on those committing these premeditated incidents to contact Cheatline anonymously. We don’t want to know who you are, only who the fraudsters are.”

If you know anyone involved in a ‘Crash for Cash’ scam, please call the anonymous Cheatline – powered by Crimestoppers – on 0800 422 0421.

 

The UK's top 20 'crash for Cash' Hotspots:

Hotspots Table Nov 2013

Latest tweet from @TheIFB

Read our 'Crash for Cash' report

The cost of 'Crash for Cash'

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