Recently gathered data has shown a 60% increase in injury claims in Scotland over the last year. It’s estimated that the claims are linked to an ongoing scam involving insurance claims.
Dubbed “crash for cash”, the idea behind the scam is that criminals will intentionally trigger a collision with another vehicle to induce an accident but do so in a way that paints the innocent bystander as at fault. Therefore, insurance companies will pay out on policies taken out only weeks before.
The frequently cited example is a policy being taken out at an address in England and an accident taking place in Scotland, with criminals crossing the border intentionally.
This rise in insurance claims is thought to be the result of reforms brought in in England and Wales that reduce the amount of compensation drivers can claim following small accidents.
However, these rules do not yet apply in Scotland, so many organised criminal gangs have taken to crossing the border for the sake of earning extra cash.
The primary location where this is taking place is the M6 route in Scotland. A recurring theme is also multiple accidents taking place in the same vehicle. In each instance, the driver assumes a different identity.
Despite the growing number of claims related to this type of fraudulent claim activity, many motorists are unfamiliar with the concept of the scam, and most would not be able to identify when it happened to them. It is estimated that only 50% of drivers understand this scam exists, with the number being even lower in Scotland, sitting at 47%.
Roughly 9/10 people have never been a victim of a scam of this nature, according to a survey conducted by YouGov. Furthermore, 47% admit that they wouldn’t be able to spot the signs of a scam if it were happening to them.
Alastair Ross is the Head of Public Policy for Scotland, Wales and NI at the Association of British Insurers. Speaking on the event, he had the following to say:
“Crash for cash criminals are a menace that puts the lives of innocent motorists at risk.
The amounts that they fraudulently claim can be huge and impact the motor premiums paid by honest motorists.
Personal injury reforms in England and Wales may encourage fraudsters to stage more motor accidents in Scotland.
This is why it is so important for all motorists to be on their guard – if you suspect an incident is suspicious, do not put yourself at risk but report your suspicions to the IFB confidential Cheatline.”
Scams like this are undoubtedly fuelled in part by the rising costs of living. Lots of people are turning more to organised crime to try and pay their bills because many feel this is the only option for survival. However, innocent motorists are paying the price, which isn’t good, and will drive up premiums long-term for people who haven’t done anything wrong.