Flash for cash sounds like something it really isn’t – but for motorists it’s a new scam from crooks out to claim a hefty car insurance settlement.
The scam is simple – the crooks flash their headlights to beckon another driver on and then deliberately drive in to the vehicle with the aim of making a bogus insurance claim for whiplash injuries and damage to their vehicle.
Car insurance firms warn the main targets are elderly motorists or families with children on board with newish cars.
The fraud is taking over from crash-for-cash, when crooks deliberately pulled up sharply in front of a vehicle, causing an accident.
Police explained that flash for cash is hard to prove in court because the magistrates have to weigh the word of one driver against the other without any independent evidence.
Detective Inspector Dave Hindmarsh, of the Metropolitan Police says this fraud costs insurers a fortune. (“The problem is a growing problem. Financially it costs insurers £392m a year”)
“Insurance fraud is a growing problem. Financially it costs insurers £392 million a year – that impacts on motorists as it’s an extra £50 to £100 on every person’s premium so that’s a financial cost.
“Emotional costs are also involved in a crash, as you could well lose your confidence, and if your passengers are children they may well become wary of being passengers in cars, and of course you may get injured or killed.
The Asset Protection Unit (APU), a company which aids police and insurance industry fraud investigations says the criminals pick on people who are unlikely to argue. (people who aren’t going to put up a fight)
“Perhaps single females in the car with children in the back on the school run. Where they know there’s going to be no resistance, no real argument at the scene. The children are going to be upset,” he said a spokesman.
Legally, the Highway Code tells drivers to only flash headlights to warn other road users of their presence.
If a driver flashes headlights to call someone on and an accident ensues, this can be considered careless driving and lead to penalty points or a court case and fine.