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Staged Car Accident Scam

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 28 Apr 2014 | comments*Discuss
Staged Accident Insurance Fraud Motoring

You're on a roundabout, when suddenly the car in front of you slams on its brakes - but you can't tell, because the brake lights don't work. You hit the car…but have you actually been the victim of a scam?

How it Works

The key to this scam is that it's difficult to prove it's a scam by the insurance companies, and that the police generally will not investigate or prosecute unless presented with strong evidence by those insurance companies. It first came to light in early 2005, with a spate of similar accidents in West Yorkshire, although the idea is thought to have originated in the North West.

A driver, usually in an old car, disconnects his brake lights, so you can't tell when he's braking. When being followed around a roundabout, he slams on his brakes for no obvious reason, and the driver behind then ploughs into them, causing damage to the cars involved and usually a injury to the first driver and passengers, more commonly whiplash.

Because it's a rear-end collision, the second driver, who's really the victim of this heavily organised crime, is assumed to be at fault. The first driver - and the passengers in the car (if any) - claim on the victim's insurance. Witnesses, part of the same gang as the driver, will come forward to verify what happened.

The gangs behind this often own garages and car hire firms. A minor crash can produce a £20,000 or £30,000 claim. Insurers believe there could be as many as 10,000 induced accidents a year.

It goes without saying that staging an accident this way is not only illegal, but also highly dangerous, and can easily cause serious injury or even death. To the insurance industry it's part of the greater sense of insurance fraud that costs £1.5 billion a year, and adds an average of £50 to your car insurance premium.

How to Avoid the Scam

The main way to avoid this scam is to follow the rules of the road, and not follow another vehicle too closely. In practical terms, especially on roundabouts, that's not always feasible. So remain very alert. Keep an eye on the vehicle in front. The occupants may turn to look at you or may even make a gesture just before the trap is sprung.

Staged by professionals, it's truthfully not always possible to avoid this, unfortunately.

What to do if You Think You've Been a Victim

  • As with any accident, exchange details with the other driver. If there's been a possible injury, inform the police.
  • Have the other driver write down his version of events.
  • Write down your own version of the events, including descriptions of the people in the other vehicle - their sex, what they were wearing, everything you can.
  • When you contact your insurance company, tell them you believe you were the victim of a scam. The insurance industry has set up the Insurance Fraud Bureau to share intelligence on suspicious claims.

Remember, this is a large, organised crime, and usually very professionally executed. If you suspect that the accident is not genuine, leave it to your insurance company to investigate. They're eager to crack down on this particular type of fraud.

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This must be a scam My daughter was in an accident (2,4,14) where a cab driver pulled out from a parking place. The was an independent witness for my daughter.The police came along, arranged recovery of the car to a garage in Fylde. The was also another man (MK) who seemed to want to take control of the recovery. He was told by the police not to and he didn't get involved. My daughter didn't ask MK or consented for MK to take any action at the time or subsequently. My daughter insurers were instructed where the car had been taken to and she believed that they would collect the car from Fylde garage. Now here is the scam. MK took it upon himself to collected the car from the Fylde garage and it was released by them and MK recovery took the car to a garage in Bootle. MK is now holding on to the car in the Bootle garage and he will not release the car. He claims he paid for the release of the car from the Fylde garage (some £300 plus probably storage on top). At no stage was any instruction given by my daughter or anyone else to the garage in Fylde to release the car or for MK to move the car. I do not know the scam is between MK and the cab driver and or the Fylde garage. The police refuse to give her police mans number as they say it's a civil matter. I believe the car has been taken (stolen).The insurers have not kept my daughter informed the there has been no progress to date28.4.14. My daughter is very unconfident and doesn't seem to be able to get anyone to help. Is there anyone out there that can help with this matter. Has anyone else in Southport been involved in this type of scam.
tickoff - 28-Apr-14 @ 12:33 AM
This morning I have had a man cut me up and then slam the brakes on, I went into the back of him. No obvious damage to either car. I hope it's a case of his bad driving as he was in his 50's and had a child in the car seat with him, rather than a scam. Thankfully I have a witness, not known to either of us, who can back me up should the need arise.
annoyed - 6-Sep-12 @ 11:28 AM
I was travelling behind a car, both turning right at an intersection. The arrow was green when I looked up at the light and when I looked back to the vehicle in front " brake lights". I jammed on my brakes and slid into the rear of the car at about 20 km pH causing minor damage to both cars. I look up to see the light turning amber. Two Arab women hop out of car which I thought to be a late model SUV, passenger holding her neck... nothing is matching up. I've got police calling me to investigate, I'm not going to lie. I've got nothing to gain, I will cop it on the chin if I have to but the registration on both cars are wrong, I was last at the scene and saw them drive off even though 4 tow trucks arrived. There's a $1000 bill for towing? I saw the car drive away? Even the assessors paperwork said it was not towed. The vehicle make I believe is also incorrect they are saying its a new 4 door lancer and I know there's a big difference in what an SUV looks like compared to this. Maybe I'm wrong??? I was in shock , but with all the discrepancies in the report I feel like this was staged. Rotten eggs, my word against them, I just want the issue over with I'm so stressed from all the phonecalls back and forth from the police crash investigation and the insurance company. I think something mustn't sound right for all the bother and if so I hope they figure out its fraudulent, but honestly I just want to be left alone. Nothing to gain...why would I lie? I'll pay, I get it rear ended...so its all my fault .pfft. I hope they get her coz this is horrible.
scammed - 1-Sep-12 @ 12:17 PM
One sure way of avoiding this scam is to use a DVR car cam. But, be aware, in the EU (including the UK) that most budget car cameras are unlawful (because they use suction mounts to the windscreen) and can therefore backfire on the user. Automotive Directive 77/649/EEC The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 Even certain US States have restrictions. So, fault can be attributed to the driver with the car cam. Be careful before you buy / use such things; make sure the DVR is not suction mounted. vcam.eu
vCam - 19-Aug-12 @ 7:35 AM
I think you will find that Insurance companies are NOT keen to crack down on this fraud. My Motor Trade Insurance refused to investigate a so called witness even when told that the driver and witness had the same surname. They were subsequently found to be Husband and Wife living at the same address. The reason the Insurance Companies save money not investigating also are able to reduce No Claim Bonus and therefore increase Premiums.
Dekker - 17-Apr-12 @ 1:13 PM
I am the victim of a car insurance scam. The driver attempted to park her (hired) car on the corner of a busy T junction and reversed into my stationary vehicle. The impact was minimum. A police officer arrived on foot and declared no damage to either vehicle. I have since received claims from the other driver for damage to the car and whiplash. My insurance company have said that if there were no other witnesses it becomes my word against theres & the insurance companies may settle 50/50. But how can anyone suffer whiplash if impact was so minimum that neither car suatained even a scratch (the police officer was witness to that)?
Jools - 2-Apr-12 @ 5:06 PM
Second driver on my cab shown me a accident video Nissan micra hitting the cab. I am very surprised how he managed to record the accident showing cab no. on back while he was on driving seat. who made this video for him? Think
yaz - 12-Nov-11 @ 12:37 PM
This is a new one on me ... The Mrs drives a mini caband had just gone to pick a woman up from town and as the street is a dead end you have to do a "3 point turn " in the road. Whilst crawling along at 0.05 MPH a guy taps on window and informs her .." you just ran my foot over " whilst he is stood calm as anything texting on his phone . Mrs says "no way "and lucky for her was a Traffic warden yards away. The Mrs shouts the warden over who says " No way Sir , she did not " The man stops Texting and says " Give us £100 and I will take it no further" at this Point a young woman comes out of MacDonalds with a young kid and tells traffic warden ..." she almost killed us ." When ? asked the traffic warden . She went onto say same time man had his foot run over. ( Now lets guess who he was texting )Traffic warden said " do you want Paramedic , Ambulance sir to inspect your foot ?" At which point he muttered"Forget it " and the pair with the young kid ran off. Should this happen to you, INSIST on medics there and then .Do not give them any details unless they have the medics examine them .
Mack..Sth Yorks - 10-Nov-11 @ 8:15 PM
Hi, I've been in an accident with another car and I feel I'm not to blame.The other car driver has since got my address from somewhere!!! and had come round to my house giving me till Friday to say I am liable, or if I don't he knows where I live...I am very lucky as I have a friend who is a solicitor and has started looking into this and hopfully this should not go any further....
sean - 4-Oct-11 @ 9:22 AM
not all asian people go round commiting fraud, Clique - 4 July 2011 @ 10:21 AM, ste - 23 June 2011 @ 9:47 AM, daveyorks - 19 June 2011 @ 5:52 PM, i've nearly been a victim of this kind of scam, and yes you guys are right when i have had a look at the driver they are mostly asian, by the way im asian myself, this people target every one it's not race thing.
upsetasian - 12-Sep-11 @ 12:14 PM
This happened to a friend of my wife, and there wasn't even an accident. The guy got out of the car at a T junction and claimed she'd run into him, though she hadn't as she'd seen him start off then stop quickly and she stopped in time too. He got abusive and demanded to swap insurance details and she refused as nothing had happened so he just drove off. 4 months later and she gets notification from her insurance company that she should settle. First she's heard but there was a claim (plus the usual whiplash stuff) and she has tried to get it stopped but even her solicitor says she should just accept it as she can't prove it didn't happen and they have the doctor's note, so the only way to get around it is for it to go to court, at great expense. She's a smart woman as well (a Doctor) so it can obviously happen to anyone and now it seems all they need is to take a note of your registration number.
Jeremy - 20-Jul-11 @ 1:37 PM
So....by "I wonder why?" you probably mean that the Insurance companies 'don't dare tackle it because they will be taken to the mythical 'Race Relations Board'. Insurance companies don't tackle it because it is too much hassle, and it is much easier to spend as little money as possible investigating, and hiking up insurance fees. They can't lose.
Clique - 4-Jul-11 @ 10:21 AM
How to avoid the scam? You don't mention the biggest clue. The vast majority of the organised gangs are Asian. Individuals bring their cars to the gang and the gang driver does the deed. He then gives the name and address of the real car owner and as you will never see him again you are none the wiser.So,if you shunt an Asian guy with no brake lights at a roundabout, take a mobile phone photo of him and see what he does. Goes ape? Demands that you delete it with threats?There is a good chance that you have been done. Pass this information and photo on to thepolice and insurance company if you like, but they will not want to know.It is costing the industrynearly 2 billion a year and yet they won't act.I wonder why?
ste - 23-Jun-11 @ 9:47 AM
yes im another victim but i was ran into,the driver claimed i pulled out but i know he acclerated into me,guess what the insurance comp didnt want to know they just paid him out a (asian) guy
daveyorks - 19-Jun-11 @ 5:52 PM
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