Most of us will have heard of the term ‘crash for cash’ or ‘flash for cash’ which is an ever growing problem for motorists and insurers alike. Criminals make no exceptions when they think they can make a buck or two and the favourite targets for this type of crime are mothers with children and the elderly. So, how does the operation work?
How it works
The most common method used is when a car in front of you slams on their brakes for no apparent reason. You have no time to react and collide with the car in front of you. Another method used is when you are waiting at a junction and an approaching car flashes you to pull out. You then pull out and the car which has flashed you drives into your car.
In both cases the blame is passed to you and the criminal will pass you their insurance details – often prepared in advance for swift hand over. Within a few days or weeks your insurance company will contact you outlining the other driver’s claim which is often exaggerated to include hire car costs, recovery and injuries.
Tips on how to avoid being a victim
• Keep an eye out for any potential hazards on the road ahead at all times and look out for anyone who appears to be driving in an odd/erratic manner. Always leave plenty of breaking space between you and the car in front.
• Does the driver in front keep looking in their rear view mirror? Do they have passengers who keep turning around to see what is happening behind them? These could be signs that the driver is planning to cause an accident.
• If you are waiting at a junction do not assume that because you are being flashed by an oncoming car that it is safe to pull out. Use your own judgement and be cautious. The same if an approaching car is indicating to turn off – don’t assume they will actually turn off. Pull out too soon and you could be sorry.
What to do if you think you have been a victim
• As with any road traffic accident, regardless of blame, do not admit liability for anything.
• Insist on calling the Police – if the accident was caused deliberately the other driver may well back off.
• Do not challenge the other driver with your suspicions – your safety is the most important thing and confrontation can be risky.
• Make written notes of what happened as soon after the incident as possible – whilst it is fresh in your mind.
• If possible, bearing in mind safety is paramount, take photographs of the accident scene to include damage to vehicles.
• Report to you insurer as soon as possible and request that they lodge your suspicion that the accident was caused deliberately.
• Report the incident to the Insurance Fraud Bureau either online or by calling their Cheatline on 0800 422 0421.
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