'Crash for cash' scam now a UK-wide problem, reports IFB

National statistics published by the UK Insurance Fraud Bureau have highlighted the growing risk to public safety due to induced motor accident fraud across the UK.

Findings indicate that, since 1999, more than 22,500 fraudulent staged and induced motor accidents have occurred across the country. While the 'crash for cash' scam was first detected in the Northwest of England, the research conducted by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) shows significant growth on a national scale, with a primary concern in London and the Southeast.

Typically, a 'crash for cash' scam will involve the fraudster driving to busy roads and junctions and performing unexpected and unnecessary emergency stops in the anticipation that an innocent motorist behind will plough into them. Accordingly, a claim will be placed to the innocent motorist's insurer, often with fictitious injuries.

Each successful scam can net up to GBP30,000. Increasing evidence shows that the proceeds are used to fund other types of crime, including drug trafficking and gun running.

The IFB is working closely with regional police forces to expose and eradicate the criminal networks involved. Two police operations in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire have recently arrested 18 individuals, led to the seizure of vehicles, and led to the identification of other criminal assets to the value of around GBP5 million.

John Greenway, MP for Rydale and chair of the All Political Party Working Group, said: "Latest estimates from the Insurance Fraud Bureau clearly demonstrate the direct risk to public safety represented by induced accidents. This is now a significant national problem impacting many cities across the UK requiring an urgent national solution."

The IFB plans to implement measures to facilitate the crackdown on this fraudulent behavior and would like to see the ring-fencing of police resources to investigate fraud and the full implementation of the attorney general's fraud review published in July 2006. In addition, the introduction of formal police targets for the investigation of this type of fraud is expected to help.