Gangs arranging crashes for cash

Footage of the moment after impact.
Footage of the moment after impact.

The moment when a crash-for-cash gang targeted a driver by creating a motorway accident was caught on tape from the victim's car and used in court to convict the criminals.

The driver is yet another victim of the so-called slam-on scam; when the motorist in front slams on their brakes for no apparent reason, causing drivers behind to crash into them.

Insurer Aviva says the latest staged accident is just one example of what is becoming the most common type of fraud in the UK with motor injury fraud now accounting for 54 per cent of total detected claims fraud costs. More than half are from organised so-called cash-for-crash claims.

The fraud is often linked to wider gang-related crime and one of the more audacious accidents took place in Newcastle in 2009 when a mini-bus supposedly travelling from Newcastle to Edinburgh for a stag event was said to have caused a collision with another car in a tunnel, resulting in "whiplash injuries" to all the occupants.

The scale of the injuries proportional to the supposed collision raised several suspicions and further investigation by Aviva's special investigations unit and local police was able to prove that the accident was bogus.

Specifically, CCTV showed the other vehicle involved in the accident wasn't at the scene at all. Aviva also linked the driver and passengers of the other vehicle to the occupants of the mini bus through social media sites.

Instead of the reported collision, the mini-bus had been deliberately damaged elsewhere and then taken to the scene of the incident, where debris was scattered and the accident staged.

Such fraud totalled £110 million ($215 million) in 2013 - a 19 per cent increase from the previous year. More than 45 fraudulent claims are detected daily, which are collectively worth more than £300,000.

Figures earlier this year showed almost a third of a million car accidents had been deliberately staged in the past five years as crooks look to profit from an insurance swindle.

A combination of factors, including the economic climate, social attitudes towards insurance fraud as a victimless crime, and a lack of effective deterrents are said to be increasing the frequency of fraud.

The video of the gang in action is here: http://bcove.me/b5gd4ocv

-Independent

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