Crash for cash clip submissions double as insurers see surge in faked accident cases

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Insurers record more than 100,000 suspicious 'accidents' caught on camera so far this year

The number of drivers sharing footage of alleged crash for cash scams has doubled in the last year, according to new research.

Insurers have recorded more than 100,000 cases identified through dash cam footage since the start of the year. The clips have been shared with insurance companies via the Nextbase dash cam portal - a national resource for drivers to share footage of dangerous or illegal driving with insurers and police forces.

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Nextbase has now shared some of the most obvious attempts to fake an accident, along with other examples of careless, reckless and downright stupid driving. 

Crash for cash scams are a growing problem around the country and the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) estimates that they have cost the industry £27 million in bogus claims. The scams involve criminals deliberately causing a collision with an innocent driver then making exaggerated claims for damage and injuries. 

In the latest development of the scam, which the IFB says has reached “epidemic” levels in London, moped riders are riding head-on towards other vehicles before throwing their vehicle to the ground and claiming to have been hit by the other driver. It is thought that more than 2,250 people have been the victim of this type of con in the last two years.

According to dash cam company Nextbase, which set up the National Dash Cam Safety Portal, its insurance partners have recorded more than 100,000 cases of suspected crash for cash fraud caught on camera since January 2023, compared with around 50,000 in the first six months of 2022. 

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The firm’s head of road safety Bryn Brooker commented: “We’re seeing a serious rise in pedestrians, cyclists, and moped users attempting to fake an incident with a vehicle in order to extort money from motorists or their insurers. Over the first six months of this year the amount of this footage being uploaded to insurers via our app has increased two-fold on the same period last year.

“Luckily, everyone who is uploading this footage has clear evidence from their dash cam that they are not at fault in the incidents. This worrying rise in criminal behaviour underlines the absolute need for drivers to get a dash cam to protect themselves. It could save you thousands in insurance and court costs – as well as potentially your licence.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau says it has seen a sharp increase in head-on incidents involving mopeds (Photo: Adobe Stock)The Insurance Fraud Bureau says it has seen a sharp increase in head-on incidents involving mopeds (Photo: Adobe Stock)
The Insurance Fraud Bureau says it has seen a sharp increase in head-on incidents involving mopeds (Photo: Adobe Stock) | Adobe Stock

“Given the extremely grim economic picture we predict that these cash-for-crash incidents will continue to grow.”

How to spot a crash for cash scam

The IFB has issued advice on how to identify if you’ve been targeted by scammers, including the following indicators

  • The other person driving erratically before the incident, including sharp braking for no reason
  • The rear passenger looking out the rear window (advising the driver when the vehicle behind is close)
  • The driver encouraging you to pull out at a junction but then crashing into you
  • The driver handing pre-written information straight after the accident
  • The driver or passengers seemingly exaggerating their injuries
  • The driver acting particularly unphased after the collision
  • The driver blaming someone else who was driving erratically in front of them and has since driven off 

To avoid such scams, the IFB advises:

  • Keep a good distance - 2 seconds in dry conditions, 4 seconds in wet, and up to 20 in snow/ice
  • Drive safe and stick to the highway code.
  • Look ahead to spot any potential hazards including unusual driving behaviour.
  • Focus on vehicles and not just their lights, as fraudsters often disable brake lights.
  • Be cautious when pulling out of a side road, especially if encouraged by another driver.
  • If other drivers or their passengers are behaving suspiciously, or the condition of their vehicle is poor (such as rear dents), stay calm and keep back.
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