13th June 2024

‘Cash for crash’ scams targeted

City of London Trading Standards have teamed up with the police to target fraudsters who endanger people’s lives.


By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
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This fraudulent activity is putting innocent drivers’ lives at risk and hitting law-abiding motorists hard in the pocket

So-called ‘cash for crash’ fraud has been in the sights of the City of London Corporation’s Trading Standards team and the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) this week, with officers visiting garages in London to check for mopeds that have been used to commit crime.

‘Cash for crash’ scammers put the safety of innocent motorists and pedestrians at risk by deliberately causing accidents that form the basis of fraudulent insurance claims. Garages can sometimes be unwittingly drawn into the scams by housing or repairing mopeds that have been used to commit them – while others are suspected to profit from them knowingly.

Officers from IFED accompanied City of London Trading Standards Officers during inspections of three premises in Croydon, Harlesden and North Finchley on 11 June to ensure that the businesses were complying with the law and to address any non-compliance. IFED officers also visited two premises in Clapham and Newham to speak to employees about ‘crash for cash’ fraud.

One person was arrested on suspicion of immigration offences and three mopeds were seized in connection with stolen vehicle reports; one of the vehicles has already been returned to its rightful owner.

Hundreds of moped license plates were also identified and logged for research purposes, with a number linked by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) and Metropolitan Police Service to known ‘crash for cash’ reports.

Reports from multiple insurers of induced collisions involving mopeds across London show that moped-enabled ‘crash for cash’ fraud is on the rise. More than 2,250 people in the capital were affected in the two years leading up to June 2023, according to the IFB.

IFED and its partners are working to establish links between garages that allegedly store and repair mopeds that have been used in the offences, as well as other associated enabling services that are believed to profit from staged ‘crash for cash’ incidents.

According to A/ Detective Inspector Marek Coghill from IFED, “‘Crash for cash’ fraudsters have no regard for the consequences of their actions and place financial gain above all else. Not only can they put the safety of innocent motorists at risk in order to make money, their actions also drive up the cost of insurance premiums for all drivers.

“By attending these inspections, we are creating a hostile environment for any potential fraudulent activity, whilst maximising intelligence opportunities and actively engaging with occupants and local communities about the issue. This coordinated day of action sends a clear message to these fraudsters and commercial parties complicit in, or essential to, the incident claims, that we are working to ensure that they have no space to operate.”

The inspections were coordinated by the City of London Corporation’s Trading Standards and supported by other London area Trading Standards teams. The IFB provided support from within IFED’s intelligence hub.

The City Corporation’s Trading Standards team is overseen by the organisation’s Port Health and Environmental Services Committee. Its Chairman, Mary Durcan, said: “This fraudulent activity is putting innocent drivers’ lives at risk and hitting law-abiding motorists hard in the pocket. Our Trading Standards team works in partnership with a range of agencies to enforce the law.

“Our Trading Standards team works in partnership with a range of agencies to enforce the law. Taking the partnership approach can solve the most difficult problems while to protecting consumers and reputable businesses.”

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