This shocking video footage shows the moment a gang of fraudsters deliberately caused a crash with an innocent driver in a bid to scam insurance companies.
The frightening clip was shared with our sister site NationalWorld by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) as it released new data showing that Birmingham is the UK’s worst city for such “crash for cash” cons.
The IFB's latest figures show that seven of the 30 worst postcodes for faked or deliberate collisions are in the Birmingham area, with all three of the worst postcodes in the city.
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Close behind is Bradford, where six more postcodes have been identified as having high numbers of suspect claims.
Behind them, Manchester, London and Luton are also hotspots for the crime, which involve criminal gangs staging or causing accidents in order to make inflated injury claims.
Almost 200,000 insurance claims a year could be linked to “crash for cash” scams, according to the latest figures, which show that of 2.7 million motor insurance claims submitted from October 2019 to December 2020, more than 170,000 could be linked to crash for cash networks.
These gangs of organised criminals cost the insurance industry millions of pounds a year in fraudulent claims, adding to the cost of everyone’s premiums.
Crash for cash schemes range from fraudsters submitting claims for entirely fictitious crashes to staged incidents using pre-damaged vehicles. However, in the most dangerous cases such as that in our clip, they deliberately cause a collision in order to scam the innocent victim and their insurer.
Freddy Lovejoy, whose Land Rover Discovery was targeted in the above clip, has urged other drivers to be alert to the dangerous con. He said: “You never expect a crime like crash for cash to happen and I would strongly recommend drivers read up about it. There can be physical and mental impacts when involved in a car incident, and to think criminals do it on purpose is scary.”
“At the time I was using a dashcam which provided crucial evidence for the case, so that would be my top tip to anyone. I was lucky to get support and justice, but others might not be so fortunate, so creating more awareness for the public is important.”
Ben Fletcher, Director at the IFB, warned that as traffic returns to pre-lockdown levels, scammers could increase their activity. He said: “Crash for cash fraudsters bring devastation to countless victims and increase motor insurance costs for us all. The IFB’s hotspots analysis is a stark reminder that although great strides have been taken in tackling the problem, these car crash scams are all too common.
“As traffic levels return to normal following the national lockdown, crash for cash fraudsters may look to make up for lost time. It is hoped that by shining a spotlight on the issue we will encourage road users to be alert and report any suspicious activity to the IFB’s Cheatline on 0800 422 0421.”
James Dalton, Director of General Insurance Policy at the Association of British Insurers, added: “These criminal gangs are often highly organised and put lives at risk. The amounts that they fraudulently claim can be huge, and can impact on the motor premiums paid by honest motorists. With more vehicles on the roads as we emerge from the pandemic restrictions, so the potential targets for these criminals increases. This is why it is so important for all motorists to be on their guard.”
A version of this story originally appeared on our sister site NationalWorld