White van men’ are being warned to be vigilant this year after reports that they are increasingly being targeted by crash for cash fraud rings. Reports in 2014 by APU, an anti-fraud firm, found that light commercial vehicles were involved in around a third of all deliberate collisions.
The number of these incidents is at record levels and shows that these criminal gangs are targeting professional vehicles. In the UK, more than 3.7 million people drive LCVs and with almost 70,000 – one in seven personal injury claims – thought to be part of scams, it’s important to know the dangers.
This type of fraud is believed to cost every policy holder as much as £50 every year on their premiums and not only is it a financial crime but it also puts lives in danger at the same time. Research from the Insurance Fraud Bureau suggests that this problem costs £392 million every year.
Why do people target LCV drivers?
It is believed that ‘white van drivers’ are targeted due to the fact they are more likely to be fully insured and less likely to dispute any liability. As gangs get more sophisticated, it is evident that they are using sound logic to target their victims and they are banking on the fact that LCV drivers are restricted by time and are more likely to exchange details without questioning.
How do I avoid this problem?
As 17% of induced accidents are from people who have done fraud previously, it is clear that being vigilant when driving is imperative. This is easier said than done but following the standard rules and maintaining concentration are the big points in battling this problem.
What should I do when I have an incident?
A lot of people with company cars, or drive plenty of miles, have begun installing cameras in their vehicle to protect themselves from this problem. These offer good protection but there are some other points to consider as well.
If you believe that you have been a victim then you should never take liability and, whilst trying not to challenge the other driver directly, take plenty of notes to describe the scene, what happened and what was said in the aftermath.
Similarly, take some discreet photos of the scene, damage to each vehicle and the number of occupants in the other car. After that check to see if any independent witnesses are available – although sometimes these are planted – and insist on reporting to the police to see if this disturbs the fraudster. Finally, make sure you report the incident and your suspicions to the insurer and the Insurance Fraud Bureau.
How can we stop ‘crash for cash’ fraud?
The rapid growth of this problem is a concern for insurers and motorist alike as it puts people at serious risk. It is harder to know what to do in order to lower the numbers of these fraudsters but many feel that it is time to give stronger punishment for this crime, and figures from Aviva research suggested that 87% of the public believe custodial sentences are the answer.