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21 November 2013, 06:16 | Updated: 21 November 2013, 06:22
An animated video is warning young motorists in Dorset and Hampshire about being ripped off by fraudsters selling fake car insurance.
An animated video is warning young motorists about being ripped off by fraudsters selling fake car insurance.The police and insurance industry are increasingly concerned about so-called ‘ghost brokers’ who particularly target young men with fake motor insurance policies, and have teamed up with crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers in an effort to stop people falling victim to this fraud.
Over 27.6 million vehicles were insured across the UK last year, providing ghost brokers with a huge production line of potential victims seeking the cheapest deals.
Ghost brokers prey on those paying the highest premiums (new young drivers, mostly men) by offering ‘cheap’ deals online and in person by the roadside, in restaurants and cafes and even on university campuses.
Fake policies bought from ghost brokers leave drivers exposed to the dangers of driving without valid insurance.
The consequences could include having their car seized by police, along with facing fines, other penalties and getting a criminal record. Uninsured drivers would also pick up the bill for any damage or injuries they cause in a crash.
The video has been launched across social media channels including Facebook and YouTube following intensive enforcement action by the City of London Police unit dedicated to tackling insurance fraud nationwide – the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED).
Detectives from IFED recently arrested 27 suspected ghost brokers in a series of dawn raids across the country.
IFED’s biggest investigation, which was triggered by information from the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), resulted in two ghost brokers being jailed for the country’s biggest fake insurance scam.
Hundreds of drivers - including three in Dorset and one in Hampshire - have been duped into buying worthless policies, making the ghost brokers more than £500,000 profit.
IFED, the IFB and Crimestoppers have collaborated to produce the video calling for motorists to use common sense when buying insurance and be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.
The video features extreme examples of making naïve purchases, including the painful consequence of being massaged by a professional wrestler.
DI Dominic Parkin, Deputy Head of IFED, said:
“Ghost broking is a nationwide problem which is now being met by a national law enforcement response. But making arrests and securing convictions is one piece of the puzzle - raising public awareness to prevent the fraudsters from duping young drivers is equally as important.
“The animation is designed to grab young drivers’ attention and quickly inform them about the issue. We have asked police forces, insurers and universities to share it online with the aim to get it watched by as many motorists as possible. In doing this we will make life much more difficult for the fraudsters and easier for the driving public.”
Ben Fletcher, Director of the IFB, said:
“We have enjoyed considerable success working with the police to cut these scams off at source and will continue to identify and pursue fraudsters. This video is about reducing the market for these fraudsters to operate in, and emphasises how important it is that drivers shopping for insurance online, or through other means, question what they are being offered to ensure they get a real deal.”
Crimestoppers’ Director of Operations, Roger Critchell, said:
“Crimestoppers is pleased to be able to work as part of this collaboration and hope that increased awareness of this crime will bring insurance fraud down.
“We work with a number of organisations to tackle various crimes and we hope this campaign will show similar successes to other partnerships we have been a part of.”