Vanarama has sent IE some handy tips on common car insurance scams;
1.Ghost Broking – Run these checks on ‘too good to be true’ deals on social media
Car insurance scammers have been targeting the influx of newly passed drivers delayed by the pandemic, on Facebook, WhatsApp, and even Instagram. The crime, known as ‘ghost broking’, involves fraudsters posing as insurance brokers on social media offering unrealistically cheap fake policies. People who fall victim to the scam will lose on average £2,250 for the bogus insurance policy revealed by Action Fraud, as well as running the risk of their personal details being stolen.
Young and newly qualified drivers are most likely to be targeted by this scam due to them facing the highest car insurance costs, however, all UK drivers should be on high alert for the scam.
Motorists can prevent themselves from falling victim to this crime by doing the following checks before committing to a policy:
- Check brokers are registered with the British Insurance Brokers’ Association
- Check insurers are a member of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau
- Check your insurance advisor is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority
- Check the seller’s website, phone number and UK address are not fake.
2. Crash for Cash – Dashcam footage could save you thousands
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) reported that of 2.7 million car insurance claims in the UK from October 2019 to the end of last year, 170,000 could be linked to crash for cash scams. This is where criminals deliberately cause a road collision to claim compensation. Not only is this dangerous, but the IFB estimates that crash for cash scams cost £340 million every year (see more here). Not to mention their insurance premium being hiked up due to the collision.
However, motorists could lower their chances of being financially impacted by this crime with dashcam footage. The video evidence is helping to stop scammers by revealing what caused the road collision.
Some dashcams like ThingCo can also act as an emergency resucue service too, plus offer driver tips and advice on saving fuel, avoiding speed cameras and gather a snapshot of evidence, then send it automatically to your insurer, in the event of a collision. No fuss, no paperwork, just data.
3. Click to Call – Save your insurers claims contact number in your phone in case of an accident
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), alongside the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) issued a warning to the public about click-to-call scammers taking advantage of motorists looking up their insurer’s details after an accident. Dodgy claims management companies are using search engine ad results to misrepresent insurers, hi-jack claims for referrals fees, and potentially leave road traffic victims out of pocket.
Motorists should save their insurer’s claims number as a contact in their phone, so they don’t fall victim to click-to-call ads in the aftermath of an accident. If motorists do end up having to search their details online, then they should always check the website address to ensure it is their insurer’s legitimate website.
4. Fake Texts – Don’t click on any links sent via text message claiming to be from your insurance company
In recent months the UK has seen a surge in fake texts in which someone posing as a trusted company, requests payment via a link to their website. However, the link is in fact to a fake webpage where the victim’s bank details are stolen, and scammers can then empty their bank accounts. There have been reports of car insurance customers falling victim to this scam after receiving tests from fraudsters posing as their insurance companies.
The best way motorists can avoid becoming a victim of this crime is by not clicking on any suspicious links or attachments sent via text from their insurers. Recipients of these texts should also not reply with any of their account details or bank details. Instead, they should report the text to their insurer.
5. Fake Phone Calls – Be wary of unexpected calls from your insurer offering cheap deals
Some criminals will target people via a phone call instead of text. Older people are at greater risk from these scams due to them often living alone, are at home during the day, have savings, and are often more willing to talk to them.
The first thing to watch out for with this type of scam is receiving an out-of-the-blue phone call from your car insurer offering a ‘too good to be true’ deal. If you receive a call like this, be sure not to give away your bank details or account details. Instead, end the call and get in touch with your insurer directly to verify the authenticity of the call.