An animated video warning young motorists about being ripped off by fraudsters selling fake car insurance has been launched today (Wednesday 20 November 2013) as part of a national awareness raising campaign.
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. 600 drivers, many of them insuring their first car, were 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.
Viewers are pointed towards getarealdeal.co.uk to find out more about ghost broking and ways to purchase the cheapest, legitimate motor insurance policies.
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.”
Notes to Editors:
- For tweets on this campaign follow @CrimestoppersUK. To join in the conversation on Twitter, please use the hashtag #getarealdeal.
- A broadcast quality version of the video is available through Faye Moxley, Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, City of London Police. Telephone: 020 7164 8212 (Mondays,Tuesdays and Wednesday), 020 7601 2258 (Thursdays and Fridays). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- DI Dominic Parkin and Ben Fletcher are available for media interview through Faye Moxley, Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, City of London Police. Telephone: 020 7164 8212 (Mondays,Tuesdays and Wednesday), 020 7601 2258 (Thursdays and Fridays). Email: email@example.com
- About IFED: IFED launched in January 2012 and is a specialist police unit dedicated to tackling insurance fraud.
Funded by members of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and based at the City of London Police's Economic Crime Directorate, the team of detectives and financial investigators acts with operational independence while working closely with the insurance industry.
IFED investigates opportunistic and organised criminality in collaboration with criminal justice partners.
- About the IFB: The IFB launched in July 2006 and was formed to provide a cost effective, tactical solution for the detection and prevention of organised, cross-industry fraud, supporting the wider ABI industry fraud strategy. The IFB leads or co-ordinates the industry response to the identification of criminal fraud networks and works closely with the police and law enforcement agencies.
- About Crimestoppers:
Crimestoppers is an independent charity which helps the police to solve crimes, making communities safer. It does this by operating the 24/7 telephone number 0800 555 111 which people can ring to pass on information about crimes anonymously. They can also use our Anonymous Online Form via their website www.crimestoppers-uk.org which can also be accessed on all mobile devices including iPads and smartphones.