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The Pulse: GSI News

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Watch out for the Ghost Broking scam

Once again, news has come of yet another car insurance scam.

At GSI Insurance we are committed to providing our customers with excellent and appropriate car insurance and as part of that, we feel obliged to draw this scam to your attention as a warning.

How it works

The basic principle used by these crooks is straightforward – and that makes it attractive to some victims.

Recognising the widespread use of social media platforms, they are advertising through those channels insurance propositions at unrealistically low prices. Almost inevitably, this catches the eye of the unwary who then the send sums of money notionally as a “premium” to the crook concerned.

What then happens may vary.

In some cases, a simple text-based confirmation is sent stating that insurance is in place on some form of “trade policy”. In other cases, various fake documents may be issued and in yet other instances, the payment of the money will be the last that the victim ever hears of the matter.

The end result is the same in all situations though – the victim has no insurance cover in place at all and may be unintentionally committing a serious offence by driving their vehicle on the public road without cover.

Tips to avoid

Here are a few obvious points we would offer up as common sense steps you can take to help to avoid becoming another victim of what is referred to as the “Ghost Broker Scam”:

  • if you see someone offering car insurance cover at a price that is way below any other options you have seen through other channels, you should be highly suspicious. The old adage that if it looks too good to be true it probably is, applies as much today as it always did;
  • ask in advance for the seller’s full name, address, Email ID and telephone contact number. You can then check those online to see if they are a bona fide and licensed company. Try and contact the individual concerned by calling the company’s details you’ve found online independently from your social media dialogue. If they are reluctant to provide such details or you are unable to trace them once they do so, this should be a powerful warning to stay clear;
  • ask for the seller’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) identifier. You can check that online through the FCA site in order to verify that they are permitted to act as a broker. Remember though, they may supply false details so this step in isolation is no guarantee;
  • never believe statements to the effect that you are being offered, as a private motorist, cover on any sort of umbrella “trade policy”. No policyholder can unilaterally decide to sell elements of their policy’s protection to third parties for financial reward;
  • be exceptionally cautious of anyone who will only accept payment in cash or bank transfers such as that made by a bank account card. These payment methods are sometimes irrevocable and can be difficult or impossible to trace. Of course, paying by those channels if you are dealing with an established and official insurance company or broker is perfectly OK.

Above all, we’d recommend that you don’t take chances and simply allow us to help you to find a car insurance policy that is both suitable for your needs as well as cost-effective.

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