Motorists in the UK have been warned about the latest car accident insurance scam. Automotive anti-fraud investigation specialist APU has called the practice ‘flash for cash’, where criminals wait for victims to exit from side roads, supermarket exits or car parks and then trick them into causing a technical motoring offence.
The fraudsters flash their headlights, appearing to offer the unwitting drivers a right of way to join the flow of traffic. However, once the victim commits to exiting the criminals speed up and hit them side-on.
This new flash for cash tactic is yet another variation on the existing ‘crash for cash’ scam where organised gangs using several cars to randomly stop, forcing the car behind to follow into them causing a rear-end collision.
APU’s director of investigative services Neil Thomas said: “It is yet another example of how criminal gangs are becoming more sophisticated and attempting to stay one step ahead of suspicion.”
“By appearing to offer the right of way, the criminal simply continues his journey into a collision, holding the victim at fault for turning across him which, of course, cannot be denied under law.”
Once a staged accident has taken place it becomes a case of one person’s word against another and is impossible to prove in court, which means many criminals escape without charge.
The scam costs insurers millions of pounds every year, which is then passed on to motorists in the form of rising insurance premiums.
Detective Inspector Dave Hindmarsh from the Metropolitan Police told the BBC the problem growing and costs insurers £392 million a year, which means drivers are seeing an extra £50 to £100 on their premium.
He also said there are also “emotional costs” as people could lose their confidence if they are involved in such a scam. Passengers may become more wary of driving as well.
People are being advised to stay vigilant and should wait for a gap in traffic to emerge without relying on other motorists letting them out.