Ever been approached by a previously unknown Insurance Broker with an offer that seems too good to be true? Watch out. It could be a ghost broker scam! Not everyone out there is as honest and trustworthy as Asprey Harris Insurance Consultants.
The term ‘ghost broker’ is used to describe a fraudster who pretends to be a genuine Insurance Broker in order to sell fraudulent car insurance. Ghost broking scams have risen in recent years and typically take place on social media but can also be made through word of mouth, spam emails or local businesses.
The scam starts with policies being bought from legitimate insurance companies using false information. With more and more insurance documents being sent electronically to policy holders it is easy for scammers to change the details so it appears the paperwork is a legitimate policy from a well known insurance company. These are the policies that are sold, over and over again, to innocent people who think they have found a bargain price for their car insurance.
As the details on the fake policy do not match those held on the Motor Insurance Bureau database the vehicle may be picked up by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras and draw the attention of the Police. The consequences of driving without insurance can be quite severe:
- Your car may be seized and crushed by the police.
- You’ll pay a fixed penalty notice of £300.
- You’ll have to buy valid insurance and pay at least £150 to get your car back from the pound.
- You could face court where you might receive an unlimited fine and a driving ban. A criminal conviction can also impact job prospects.
- You could be liable to cover the costs of any injuries or damage caused if you trigger a collision while driving without insurance.
Don’t get caught out
- Check the seller has a legitimate website, a UK phone number and address
- If buying through a broker, check they’re registered with British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA)
- If buying directly through an insurer, check they’re a member of Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB)
- Check your insurance advisor is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
- Check your vehicle is shown as legally insured by visiting the MIB database at: https://ownvehicle.askmid.com/
- Report insurance scams to the IFB Cheatline (powered by CrimeStoppers) on 0800 422 0421 or online. It’s free, anonymous and completely confidential.