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Law360, London (August 26, 2020, 3:18 PM BST) — The Insurance Fraud Bureau has urged victims of car accidents they suspect have been caused by fraudsters to take down essential information about the incidents, as it revealed that one in 10 motor insurance claims for personal injury is linked to a scam.
The bureau has set out what it said are essential tips for motorists who fear they have been caught up in a “crash-for-cash” scam, in which crooks stage collisions in the hope of profiting from a fraudulent insurance claim.
“With an estimated one in every 10 motor insurance claims for personal injury linked to a ‘crash for cash’ the scam is sadly more common than people think,” the IFB, which investigates crime on behalf of the insurance sector, said on Tuesday.
The scams cost around £340 million ($447 million) annually, according to the bureau.
Victims should get “essential information,” such as the driver’s insurance details and as much information as possible about the passengers and circumstances of the collision, the bureau said.
Motorists should also note the number of passengers in the other vehicle. “A fraudster might exaggerate the number of injured passengers in the days to come,” the IFB said.
Drivers are legally required to stop their vehicles and exchange details after a collision, the bureau said. It warned that a motorist could be seen as responsible for a hit-and-run collision if he or she failed to swap details.
Victims should also avoid accusing the other driver of committing a “crash for cash” because such criminals “often have no qualms about showing aggression.”
The bureau added that “if the incident was fraudulent it can always be exposed in a later investigation.”
Bogus insurance claims could also rise over the COVID-19 pandemic. A fraud expert has warned that the virus could lead to an increase in fraudsters trying to persuade people to make claims for accidents they did not have.
–Additional reporting by Lucia Osborne-Crowley. Editing by Ed Harris.