‘Crash For Cash’ (CFC) scams are officially defined by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) as a scam that aims to “stage or deliberately cause a road traffic collision solely for the purpose of financial gain. Crash For Cash scams are a very serious and widespread issue in the UK. It’s estimated the scams cost motorists around £340 million a year, and over the years these CFC scams have become more and more sophisticated.  It’s bad enough having to be alert to email and internet scams all the time without having to dodge criminals on the roads too but that is the world we now live in.

There are numerous criminal gangs staging road traffic accidents and the following (potentially very dangerous) methods are just a few examples of the ways in which the average driver can be swindled:

Waving
Most commonly happens when there’s a lot of traffic. The other driver waves for you to merge into their lane. As you join it, the car speeds up and collides with your vehicle. The other driver will then deny offering you the right of way and will assert that you were at fault for ‘cutting them up’.

Swooping and squatting
This scam requires two fraudsters. As you’re driving along, a car will pull out on the driver in front, forcing them to brake suddenly. Even if you’re moving at a slow speed there’s still a high risk of a collision. The car that pulled out in front will be the ‘swoop’ and they will leave the scene quickly. The car in front of you will be the ‘squat’ and is likely to be filled with passengers that all claim injury if you have the misfortune to run into the back of them.  You can practically see the pound signs in their eyes!

Flashing
Also called ‘flash for cash’. When trying to pull out of a junction, a driver will ‘flash’ their lights indicating that he/she is letting you out. As you pull out, the driver will accelerate and crash into you. As you’re pulling into a lane of oncoming traffic, you’re at fault.  How you deal with the aftermath of such a collision is critical to a good outcome for you and your insurance company.

Slamming on
The fraudster will disconnect their brake lights (a brazen act of illegality) and then slam them on for no apparent reason. You won’t realise until it’s too late and a collision has occurred.  Of course, he or she will blame you for not maintaining an adequate distance but brake lights are fitted for a very good reason, to warn other motorists, and you would be a victim in such circumstances.

To protect yourself from these types of frauds, remember to always keep a safe braking distance from the vehicle in front of you and drive responsibly. If you’re unsure of another driver’s signalling to you be very cautious; protect yourself always.

If you do get involved in a suspicious road traffic accident take your time and make sure you have as many details as possible of the driver and passengers, and any witnesses at the scene.  If possible, take multiple pictures of the damage to both vehicles, the general layout of the road, and some of the driver and any passengers might not be a bad thing either.  Not letting anyone drive off until you have all the details might make them think twice about pursuing a dodgy claim anyway.  If you are suspicious that you’re being set up as the target of a fraudster, do not for a second hesitate to contact the police to attend the scene.

If you believe you’ve become victim of “crash for cash” fraudsters contact Michael McGhie today on 01202 877400 or via his email michaelmcghie@newnham-jordan.co.uk!

Michael McGhie
Article by Michael McGhie
Michael began his career at one of the leading criminal litigation practices in Bournemouth. Since then he has worked for a number of high profile law firms across the country.

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