The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) and City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) are warning drivers to watch out for a new type of crash for cash scam, dubbed clip for cash, which has been spreading across the country. Unlike traditional crash for cash scams where fraudsters cause a collision, this involves scammers accusing drivers of clipping their wing mirror, before becoming threatening and demanding cash up front.
IFB and IFED are actively investigating over 40 incidents where innocent people appear to have been targeted. However, due to a lack of public awareness of the issue, potentially hundreds of cases are going unreported. Drivers are being urged to look out for the signs.
Ursula Jallow, Director at IFB, said:
“Clip for cash is an increasing threat to drivers. These fraudsters trick innocent motorists into thinking they’ve caused genuine damage and then apply pressure tactics to get victims to hand over cash. As there is little awareness of this new fraud type, it means drivers are more susceptible to falling victim. We’re urging everyone to look out for the warning signs of these wing mirror stings and report it to Cheatline and Action Fraud.”
Of course one flaw in the plan is that many people rarely carry for than about £20 in cash on them, but of course pressure might well be applied on a lone driver to drive to the nearest ATM to cough up £200 or so.
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What can I do if I’m targeted?
Regardless of whether a genuine road traffic collision has taken place or not, money should never be handed over at the scene. If accused of damaging a wing mirror, insurance details should be swapped as legally required. If there is an imminent risk of danger, call the police.
If someone thinks they have been targeted, they should tell their insurer and local police force. They should also report their concerns to IFB’s Cheatline and Action Fraud, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting service.
IE magazine advises drivers to keep going if a car is flashing you from the rear. Don’t stop until you reach a busy supermarket or an on-street location near a highly visible ULEZ camera, traffic cameras etc. If you have SatNav try to lacate the nearest Police station – if there is such a thing within 15 mins drive. NEVER stop after dark and never stop if you are lone female.
Insurance industry reaction to this emerging scam
Ben Neyland, Head of Claims Counter Fraud at Admiral, said:
“Unfortunately, this insidious scam is becoming more commonplace. The tactics used by the fraudsters are intimidating and it would be frightening to be targeted by them. One way to prevent people falling prey to the scam is to raise awareness of it. Which is why it’s important for insurers to support the IFB and IFED in the campaign to spread the word about it. If you suspect you’ve been targeted by fraudsters with this scam, let your insurance provider know and report it to Cheatline.”
Matthew Stevens, Anti-Fraud Director at Hastings Direct, said:
“This is yet another example of how unscrupulous fraudsters try to take advantage of innocent people. At Hastings, we are working tirelessly with the Insurance Fraud Bureau, the Police and other insurance companies to help tackle this and all types of insurance fraud. My advice to motorists is to never hand cash over at the side of the road, always report the incident to your insurance provider and to call the police if the other motorist becomes threatening.”
Ben Fletcher, Director of Financial Crime at LV= General Insurance, said:
“Fraudsters are constantly evolving their tactics, and this is another example of how they pray on the vulnerable. We’re seeing younger and elderly drivers targeted, as they’re more likely to fall for this awful scam.
“We work with the industry to crack down on any trends we see, and our fraud controls ensure we’re capturing these criminals to help protect innocent motorists and keep insurance costs down. It’s so important victims take pictures of the damage, look for witnesses who can help provide an account of what happened and report insurance fraud confidentially to Cheatline.”