Friday 16 August 2013

Warning to motorists about new fraud tactic

A new car insurance scam tactic, dubbed "flash for cash" has been devised by organised gangs of criminals, again targeting innocent motorists.

The gangs lie in wait near exits for fuel stations, shops and car parks. The innocent motorist is given the impression they are being offered a way back on to the main road, only for the driver of the other vehicle to accelerate into the side of it and claim no such signal was given, which is very difficult to prove in a court of law. This shifts the blame to the victim for seemingly cutting off the other motorist's right of way.

The Asset Protection Unit (APU), a specialist anti-fraud firm that work closely with the police and insurance companies warned those most at risk are the more vulnerable such as mothers on the school run and elderly motorists. Others targeted have included those driving new, expensive vehicles.

The Highway Code says: "Flashing headlights. Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there. Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users. Never assume that flashing headlights is a signal inviting you to proceed. Use your own judgement and proceed carefully."

Unfortunately, what was once seen as a rare, friendly gesture,  is now being abused by criminals and will now be viewed with scepticism and caution.

The Metropolitan Police's Traffic Command Detective Inspector David Hindmarsh told Sky News: "Organised criminal groups can set up claim management companies with the sole purpose of defrauding the industry. Insurance costs would then be claimed for recovery of the damaged vehicle, storage while awaiting repairs and car rental during the period. The advice would be if someone flashes you, make sure they are either stopped or don't risk pulling out. Always make sure it is safe to move before you do so."

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