Two new crash for cash scams are spreading across London and may well be on course to appear in a town near you. Scams move quickly between large towns and cities, so now is not the time to be complacent.
One new scam involves mopeds hiding out of sight until an unwitting victim appears, at which stage they are deliberately driven into oncoming vehicles. They usually throw their moped to the ground and drop to the floor to act out an injury, before taking photos of the incident. With many of the suspected fraudsters believed to be couriers delivering items such as takeaways, they can loiter on the roads without creating suspicion.
The fraudster sometimes has an accomplice to act as a witness and help facilitate the fraud. There have also been reports of the accomplice using a van to help obscure the victim’s view before the moped drives into them, making the scam easier to carry out.
Road users are encouraged to be vigilant of any moped users who appear to be lingering unnecessarily on public roads.
An investigation led by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), and several insurers, has found around 2,250 people in London have been victim of the scam in the past two years.
As there is little public awareness of the tactics being used by crash for cash moped scammers, it is believed thousands more people could have unknowingly been targeted. An urgent appeal has been launched to help road users learn the warning signs of the scam and report evidence to Cheatline online or via 0800 422 0421.
“Crash for cash moped scams have become epidemic in our capital. These dangerous fraudsters are driving head-first into unsuspecting motorists, leaving countless victims terrified and insurers facing millions of pounds in bogus claims…” – Ursula Jallow, Director at IFB.
Clip for Cash
The second new scam, known as Clip for Cash, involves scammers accusing innocent drivers of clipping their wing mirror before demanding cash up front. This new scam has already started to spread across the UK.
A clip for cash nearly always takes place on a residential road. As the victim drives by the fraudster is parked in their car on the left-hand side and throws an object, such as a large rock, at the side of the victim’s car to make an impact sound.
The startled driver is soon flashed by the fraudster’s car to get them to stop, before being accused of clipping their wing mirror (which was already damaged). The fraudster then demands the victim hands over cash, which could be as much as £200, or pressures them into visiting a cashpoint.
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 you think you have been targeted in a clip for cash scam, you should tell your insurer and local police force. You should also report your concerns to IFB’s Cheatline and Action Fraud: the national fraud and cybercrime reporting service.