Top tips to avoid becoming a victim of insurance fraud

Check out our top tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of insurance fraud

Insurance fraud has been around for a long time. We all know someone – a family member, friend or colleague – who has fallen victim to fraud.

With fraudsters always looking to profit from other people, we thought we’d share with you some tips on how you can spot a scam, so you don’t get duped.

Ghost brokers

Ghost brokers ‘act’ as an intermediary between the driver and the insurer, claiming to be able to offer cheaper car insurance. Once they have your money, they’ll buy the insurance and then cancel it at a later date to get the refund, leaving the driver unaware that they’re driving without insurance.

Ghost brokers target high-risk drivers who are likely to have rather expensive premiums for one reason or another; typically young, newly-qualified drivers who don’t have loads of money to spare and so are keen to find insurance at a discounted price.

The best thing you can do is to trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel or sound right, it probably isn’t genuine. Ignoring your gut and buying your policy through a ghost broker will be more expensive in the long run; and that’s if your car isn’t seized and destroyed before you work out what’s happened.

If you’ve been approached by someone claiming to be a broker, you should always be wary. Make sure you check their details on the British Insurance Brokers’ Association website and also on the FCA register. If the ‘broker’ isn’t listed, then stay away.

Top tips to avoid being done by a ghost broker

If you’re concerned that your policy might not be legit, or just want to double-check your policy, it’s really easy to do.

Simply visit the Motor Insurers’ Bureau Database and check to see if your policy has been registered.

The database keeps a record of policy details of all cars insured in the UK, so if your car’s not on there, you need to take immediate action by reporting the company or individual you have bought insurance from to Action Fraud either online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Induced accidents

Also known as a ‘crash for cash’ accident, this is where a criminal orchestrates an accident, often involving innocent road users, with the specific intention of making a fraudulent insurance claim, or in the hope of getting the victim to settle in cash rather than going through their insurance, to then claim after.

Top tips to avoid being the victim of an induced accident

With the number of crash for cash accidents on the rise in the UK, it’s worth knowing some top tips to help reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of an induced accident.

One of the things we’d recommend doing straight away is getting a dash cam. Fraudsters have been known to stop suddenly then reverse into the vehicle behind that also managed to stop in time. A dash cam will help prove this.

Don’t trust a vehicle that flashes their lights at you. Always wait until you’re sure it’s safe to pull out. There’s been a rise in the number of drivers who are flashing their lights indicating for you to go to then drive straight into you, claiming you pulled out on them.

If you notice that the car in front has defective brake lights stay right-back or avoid following behind them altogether. Fraudsters often disable their brake lights to make it easier to cause an accident.

Watch out for erratic drivers. If you notice the driver in front tries a ‘crazy’ manoeuvre and fails the first time, they could try again. Stay back or stay out of their way.

If you’re unlucky enough to get caught up in a crash for cash accident, one of the big giveaways is that the insurance claim they put through will often exaggerate injuries and claim for multiple “phantom” passengers who may not have ever been in the car at the time. So make sure you take lots of pictures and write down notes on how many people were in the car and what they looked like.

Google ad spoofing

Google ad spoofing is where accident management companies create sponsored ads on search engines, targeting people who are using search terms such as ‘1ST CENTRAL Claims’ and taking on their claims without informing the customer’s actual insurer.

Top tips to avoid becoming a victim of Google ad spoofing

These ads work by duping people who are trying to report a claim. So here are 5 top tips to stop you from falling victim to their ads:

  1. When making a claim, go directly to your insurer’s website, and get the claims number from there.
  2. When using search engines, keep an eye out for the “ad” warning. This shows that the link you’re clicking on has been paid for.
  3. If in doubt, check your insurance documents first.
  4. Currently, the adverts are only showing on mobiles and tablets. We’d recommend searching on your laptop or desktop.
  5. When you get your insurance policy documents, save the number in your mobile. That way, if you have an accident, you’ll have the correct number to hand.

What to do if you’ve been in an accident

Being involved in a car accident is never a nice feeling, whether you suspect it to be deliberate or not. In fact, it’s often downright scary. That’s why we’ve pulled together 5 little tips to help steer you in the right direction after impact:

  1. Stay calm!
  2. Check everyone’s ok. If someone’s hurt or the car is blocking the road, call 999.
  3. Check for damage to the cars involved, and make sure you take pictures of all the damage of yours and their car.
  4. Write down the other car’s insurance details, along with how many people were in the car, and also what the driver and the passengers looked like.
  5. Call your insurer to report the accident.

If you believe the other driver may have caused the accident on purpose, take as much information about the driver and their passengers as possible and explain the situation to your insurer.

For a more detailed guide, head on over to our blog for some top tips.

Don’t let the fraudsters get away with it

If you suspect or have knowledge of any form of insurance fraud impacting you or 1ST CENTRAL, please tell us. Reports to our fraud team can be made in the strictest confidence and anonymously if necessary at stopfraud@1stcentral.co.uk.

You can also make reports to one of our partners – the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), who manage Cheatline. This is a Freephone and online fraud reporting facility, where suspicions or knowledge of any type of fraud can be reported.

Want to find out more about insurance fraud? Take a look at our Fraud Spotlight series where we delve into what insurance fraud is and who the real victim of insurance fraud is.