Crimestoppers and Insurance Fraud Bureau appeal to the public to share information on criminals staging car accidents and risking public safety

16 December 2013

  • Locations identified where claimants in suspected ‘Crash for Cash’ scams are most likely to be found
  • ‘Crash for Cash’ scams are deliberate car crashes carried out by organised gangs committing insurance fraud on a multi-million pound scale
  • The industry has partnered with crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers to raise public awareness of the issue
  • Public urged to report suspicions to charity powered anonymous Cheatline and help bring criminals to justice

The Insurance Fraud Bureau and Crimestoppers are today alerting motorists to the nation’s ‘Crash for Cash’ hotspots and launching a campaign appealing for information on those making bogus claims, in a crime that collectively costs policyholders over £390 million every year.

Motorists in a number of hotspot areas are being warned to be particularly vigilant as these cities include some of the postal

districts with the highest concentration of claimants connected to suspected ‘Crash for Cash’ scams in the country.

Two postal districts in London rank in the top 20 ‘Crash for Cash’ hotspots across the UK ; with one in North West London ranking at 13th and one in Enfield ranking 15th.

The campaign, being backed by the insurance industry, aims to raise public awareness of the ‘Crash for Cash’ phenomenon, whereby criminals target innocent and unsuspecting motorists with the intention of staging crashes in order to make claims against them. By reporting suspicions anonymously via the Cheatline, the public can provide important information, which will complement insurance industry data, and help identify the criminals behind these dangerous and unnecessary collisions.

Crash for Cash billboard_Nov2013_900

Whilst the scam is a nationwide problem, the campaign focuses where perpetrators are most prevalent, with information being distributed to postal districts within cities that occupy the top of the ‘Crash for Cash’ hotspots list: Bradford, Birmingham, Bolton, Manchester, London, Liverpool and Halifax.

By exaggerating claims for personal injury, vehicle damage and car hire, individual claims made by scammers can be as much as £30,000. The result is that honest motorists foot the bill, as insurance companies pay out for accidents that have been caused deliberately by the fraudster.

In many cases these crashes are coordinated beyond individual towns and cities by organised criminal gangs making hundreds of claims. These gangs use the considerable profits they make through ‘Crash for Cash’ activity to fund their on-going criminal network, with the average scam investigated by the IFB estimated to be worth £1.7 million.

Case studies

In August 2012, Masi Naqshbandi (27, of Notting Hill) was found guilty of staging hundreds of road traffic accidents in order to make insurance claims which would have been worth over £6.5 million had the scam not been uncovered by the Insurance Fraud Bureau. Between 2007 and 2008, Naqshbandi and his accomplice Sabaoon Hillaman submitted over 250 fraudulent insurance claims through their London-based accident management company – Real Accident Helpline.

‘Crash for Cash’ statistics

1 in 7 Personal injury claims linked to suspected ‘Crash for Cash’ scams
£392m Annual cost of ‘Crash for Cash’ fraud
£1.7m Average value of scams investigated by the IFB
£50 Annual cost of fraud to household insurance bills
1 in 10 Motorists who would consider taking part in ‘Crash for Cash’ scams for financial reward

Ben Fletcher, IFB Director, said: “Far from being a victimless crime, ‘Crash for Cash’ scams hit motorists in the pocket and put other road users in harm’s way. While the hotspots show where fraudsters are prevalent the reality is that staged accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. Working with police forces across the country we’ve secured over 850 arrests to date and information from the Cheatline will help us bring more of these criminals to justice.”

Director of Operations for Crimestoppers, Roger Critchell, said: “This is a serious and organised crime that funds other crimes, including weapons and drug smuggling. For this reason I would urge anyone who has information on those committing these premeditated incidents to contact Cheatline anonymously. We don’t want to know who you are, only who the fraudsters are.”

If you know anyone involved in a ‘Crash for Cash’ scam, please call the anonymous Cheatline – powered by Crimestoppers on 0800 422 0421 or visit www.crashscam.co.uk.


-ENDS-

For further information please contact:

Crimestoppers Press Office on 0208 835 3737/3726 or email Giselle.lares@crimestoppers-uk.org / heather.broughton@crimestoppers-uk.org

IFB Press office: Jim Roberts on 01908 843109 or email Jim Roberts on jroberts@mib.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

About the IFB:

  • The IFB launched on July 26 2006 and was formed to provide a cost effective, tactical solution for the detection and prevention of organised, cross-industry fraud, supporting the wider Association of British Insurers (ABI) industry fraud strategy. The IFB leads or co-ordinates the industry response to the identification of criminal fraud networks and works closely with the Police and law enforcement agencies.

www.insurancefraudbureau.org
www.twitter.com/theifb


About Crimestoppers

  • Crimestoppers is an independent charity which helps the police to solve crimes, making communities safer. It does this by operating the 24/7 telephone number 0800 555 111 which people can ring to pass on information about crimes anonymously. They can also use our Anonymous Online Form via our website www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
  • The IFB’s Cheatline, which is powered by Crimestoppers, provides a means for anyone with information on insurance fraud to report it anonymously. If a member of the public approaches you with suspicions about a potential Crash for Cash scam, please encourage them to report it via the Cheatline.
  • Around 20 people are arrested and charged every day as a result of information given to Crimestoppers.
  • Since Crimestoppers began in 1988, it has received over a million actionable calls, resulting in over 126,000 arrests and charges. Over £126 million worth of goods has been recovered and over £301 million worth of drugs has been seized.
  • In 2005, Crimestoppers launched the UK’s Most Wanted on its website which allows the public to view images of criminals and pass on vital information about their whereabouts. It has been highly successful with over 2,500 arrests to date.
  • Crimestoppers UK was founded by Lord Ashcroft, KCMG PC, Chairman of Trustees. In 1988, he launched Crimestoppers in the Metropolitan Police area. Crimestoppers’ ‘call to action’ is built on a three-way partnership between the business community, the police and the media.