February 28, 2014

Flash-For-Cash… SCAM

Flash-For-Cash… SCAM Header Image

Do you trust your fellow driver? Do you see someone flashing to let you go and feel relieved that after what seems like forever of waiting you’re finally let out of that junction? Well I do, but there are those whose relief is quickly replacement with fear and panic.

Flash-For-Cash is the latest car insurance scam where a driver will flash their headlights to invite another driver to exit a junction, as we all have done before, but instead of letting that driver pull out safely, these criminals continue and crash into the side of the car.

Although flashing headlights is commonly understood and accepted by all drivers as a kind gesture to indicate right away to another driver. We all do this, it’s universal language when behind the wheel, but this unofficial language is being exploited. As stated in the highway-code, the flashing of headlights should only be used to ensure another driver’s awareness of your presence, and not to communicate any other message. This means that criminals are driving into innocent road users, and getting away with it. It’s a crime, yet according to the law, they are the victim. How can someone who is intentionally causing a car crash be a victim? … In any language!

What makes this crime especially appalling is not the fact that the criminals get away with it, but instead, who these criminals are targeting. The most typical victims of these horrendous car insurance scams are elderly drivers, young female drivers and young single mothers during the school run, with a car full of children. Flash-for-cash insurance fraudsters target the most vulnerable drivers, those who are less likely to put up a fight against their injustice.

If you think this doesn’t affect you, then you’re wrong. The range of victims of this crime extends to all car users. In order to cope with the losses caused by individuals scamming car insurance companies, the industry on an average increases the premium of their customers by £50-100 each year. This is a key factor in the increasing premiums that had the consumers furious in recent years.

IFB (Insurance Fraud Bureau) and other bodies such as ABI (Association of British Insurers) have been revealing these criminals. The costs of these car insurance scams, that some justify as ‘victimless crimes’, are higher than anyone would anticipate. Not only do they cost the industry £17 million a day, but they have cost numerous deaths and injuries to victims. Evidently, it’s not a victimless crime.

Now knowing what kind of monsters are out there, do you trust your fellow driver? I for one will be more cautious when I am signalled to pull out of a turning in the future.

Drive safe.