Crash-for-cash gangs con pay outs from insurers by tricking innocent motorists in to accidents – a common ploy is to pull up sharply in front of another motorist and claim the driver and passengers suffered whiplash injuries.
Insurers reckon the bogus claims cost the industry £2 billion a year and add £44 to the cost of every motorist’s insurance cover.
Birmingham is the worst crash-for-cash black spot – followed by Sheffield, Manchester, Nottingham and Cardiff.
Brighton, Guildford, reading and Portsmouth are the latest black spots to win a listing in the crash-for cash table.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), which liaises between insurers and police, has revealed investigations have led to 486 arrests, 119 convictions and sentences for crooks that add up to more than 90 years in jail.
The IFB analyses around 128 million car insurance records to identify crime patterns and suspects.
“We use powerful software to interrogate industry data, including insurance claims,” said IFB director Glenn Marr.
“This provides insurers with a unique capability to identify insurance fraudsters and link them together, to cover professionals assisting them in their criminal activity and to ultimately disrupt their criminal activities.”
The IFB says motorists should not subsidise fraudulent claims by criminal gangs and urges them to report any suspicions about crash-for-cash to an anonymous tip line on 0800 328 2550.
“Experience has demonstrated that a sustained, collective industry effort is required to reduce fraud,” said Marr. “ Insurers have invested heavily in fighting fraud and are committed to rooting out criminals.”
The IFB has carried out joint crash-for-cash operations with 17 police forces and cleared up crimes involving £59.5 million of fraudulent claims. A number of covert operation are currently underway.