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Cash For Crash Warning
     Fleets Face The Threat From Fraudsters


two high-profile cases in which convictions were made for cash for crash fraud have highlighted the threat fleets face from fraudsters who are willing to risk the lives of others for financial gain.

One case in which a woman died as a result of an incident caused by cash for crash fraudsters saw 3 men sentenced to 10 years each. It was the first time that somebody had beenkilled as a result of a crash for cash scam, and police are calling it a landmark case.

Sgt James Upton, from the Thames Valley Police road death investigation team, said: “The crash for cash culture has become more prevalent in our society, but this is the first known fatality as a result of an induced crash.”

In the second case to be sentenced over recent weeks, a cash for crash fraudster was jailed for 12 months for conspiracy to defraud and dangerous driving after he targeted a commercial vehicle.

CCTV footage from the HGV’s in-cabin camera, supplied by Towergate Insurance, helped to expose the scam. It showed a black Volkswagen Golf working in tandem with a blue Mercedes-Benz to induce the crash.

The Golf which was the decoy car braked hard and late in order to turn into a side roadt then the Mercedes-Benz that was following then performed an emergency stop, which caused a rear-end shunt by the HGV.

However, fleets that fall victim to a scam face a hike in premiums, costly repairs and vehicle downtime, let alone the trauma of dealing with an accident that could have serious consequences for its driver.

It’s a growing problem and Larry Smith, managing director of Towergate Insurance motor division, told Fleet News thatwithout the footage, it would have been very difficult for its client to prove it had been involved in a crash for cash scam.

Cameras typically record on a loop on an SD card, but will save data if triggered by a G-force event, such as a collision.

Zurich recognises that installing a camera can help in establishing liability and reducing fraud, but it says there are additional benefits that can be gained from this technology if these are linked to driver behaviour telemetry systems.

A spokesman explained: “The organisation would get alerts, with video footage, whenever the camera is activated due to a harsh manoeuvre.”

Fleets can then work with the driver to understand the underlying root causes and put the appropriate measures in place to prevent them happening in the future.

March 2013 - Fleet News