Common Car Insurance Scams
Traffic Scammers & Car Accidents
We’ve all heard about traffic scammers. They prey on unknowing individuals on surface streets, freeways and in traffic. Their goal is to extort funds from unlucky individuals that happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But how do these scammers execute this fraudulent dangerous behavior, and how can a person that's been involved (albeit unknowingly) know the telltale signs of this scam?
Car accident scams involve individuals intentionally trying to get into car accidents. The non-at-fault individual can make a claim to a policyholder’s insurance policy in an attempt to fraudulently extort or receive money from either the policy holder or insurance company. This illegal and fraudulent behavior involves major stress and setbacks for the legitimate, non-fraudulent parties involved. A car accident attorney can help identify fraudulent behavior.
Ever since insurance companies emerged, scammers on the other side of the spectrum have been targeting unknowing individuals to victimize. Below are a few common car insurance scams used.
Rear Accidents (Staged)
Some scammers like to intentionally use rear accidents as a way to defraud unassuming drivers and file a claim against insurance carriers. Not only is this practice grossly unethical, it is also illegal and costly. In fact fraud is the second most expensive white collar crime in the United States after tax evasion.
Staged rear accidents are caused by scammers that intentionally cause a car crash to make fraudulent insurance claims. These vehicles may swerve in front of you in traffic, and stop short in an attempt to defraud the vehicle that rear ended the scammer. If the driver behind the scammer is unable to stop in time, the defrauded individual may be held accountable for the injuries of the other individual.
After the accident occurs, ensure that you take as many photos as possible. Luckily, most of our phones have a camera built in. Ensure you pull off to a safe place and put the hazard lights on for all vehicles involved.
Falsifying Damage to Vehicle After the Accident
This type of fraud involves the individual involved in orchestrating the fraud falsifying damage to their vehicle after the accident has occurred. The fraudulent parties may intentionally add damage to their vehicle. They will then claim that the damage was more extensive than what actually transpired at the accident.
To help counter a fraudulent party from participating in this behavior, ensure you take numerous photos of the accident, parties involved and important documents like car insurance, registration and driver’s license. The fraudulent parties may conspire and act with additional entities, including mechanics, that inflate and exaggerate claims.
What to Do After a Car Accident?
Even if you believe all parties involved in the accident are telling the truth and that the accident was in fact an “accident”, it is important to document everything at the scene of the crash. First ensure that everyone involved is OK, and if your state requires you to do so, or if there are any injuries or serious damage, call first responders at 911. After the accident, ensure you go to a doctor, even if the injuries do not appear to be serious. A doctor’s report can help establish the facts involving any sort of personal injury.
Once you’ve ensured everyone is OK, take photos of the damage suffered of your car. Then take photos of all other parties involved and any damage that has occurred to their vehicles. Take pictures of the nearest cross streets, debris and location of the car accident.
If a police officer or other first responder is called to the site, they can act as a preemptive arbiter and identify certain facts or patterns that the layperson may not be able to see.
Even if you don’t think something is important to photograph, it is strongly encouraged that you take too many photos opposed to too little. In the event that a personal injury claim is filed by one of the involved parties, these photos can prove to be important.
If you have suffered personal injury it is best to contact a car accident attorney that is knowledgeable and recognizes the patterns of fraudulent behavior or insurance fraud.
What Can I Do Now?
If you have been injured as a result of a fraudulent car accident scam, it is important to call the National Insurance Crime Bureau at 1-800-TEL-NICB to report the potential fraudulent behavior. Then contact a reputable car accident attorney.
If you are experiencing any signs of injury, an attorney can help recoup damages caused by the at-fault or fraudulent party. If you suspect fraudulent behavior in your car accident, it is even more important to consult with a car accident lawyer.
Professionals that specialize in car accidents can help identify evidence that the average individual may overlook. They work as an advocate on their clients behalf's to help restore what was previously lost. They can identify evidence that may be overlooked otherwise.
If you have fallen victim to a car accident and have suffered injuries, or suspect that the accident resulted from ill intentions of a scammer, contact a car accident attorney. Scammers exist and can take advantage of unsuspecting individuals. A professional advocate on your side can help identify information that is critical to a car accident case.