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Top 10 'crash for cash' fraudster hotspots revealed

Birmingham is the country's "crash for cash" capital, according to an insurer.

Birmingham is the country's "crash for cash" capital, according to Aviva. Credit: Patrick Pleul / DPA/PA

The claims include induced accidents where fraudsters deliberately target innocent motorists to claim whiplash compensation, as well as staged accidents where two damaged cars are crashed together to make it look like an accident.

Aviva detected more than 3,000 organised crash for cash claimants last year - or one every three hours. It said a quarter of these claims happened in Birmingham.

Here are the top 10 hotspots for "crash for cash" claims:

  • 1: Birmingham
  • 2: North London
  • 3: East London
  • 4: Leeds
  • 5: Harrow
  • 6: North West London
  • 7: Bradford
  • 8: Luton
  • 9: Coventry
  • 10: Oldham

Induced accident numbers remain "worryingly" close to record levels seen in 2014 said the insurer, with the number of cases falling by just 2% in 2015.

Meanwhile, there has been a dramatic 40% year-on-year fall in staged accidents. Aviva believes this is because measures have been put in place to make it harder for fraudsters to take out a policy with the insurer in the first place.

Motor fraud

Motor fraud remains the largest type of fraud Aviva detects, representing 60% of all claims fraud with a value of #58 million.

1 in 9
proportion of whiplash claims submitted to Aviva tainted by fraud, according to the insurer
17,000
number of suspicious whiplash claims under investigation
4,000
number of motor injury claims linked to known fraud rings

Tom Gardiner, head of fraud at Aviva, said: "Induced accidents now account for nearly half of all organised motor fraud we detect.

"Crash for cash does not just push up premiums for genuine customers, it puts innocent motorists at risk. It is also a significant drain on scarce public resources such as ambulance, police and A&E time, all of which are wasted on these entirely bogus claims."

Here are some tips from Aviva to minimise the risk of becoming a crash for cash victim:

  • Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front.
  • Fraudsters target roundabouts and slip roads to induce accidents. Be especially vigilant in these areas, allowing plenty of space.
  • There are frequently two cars involved in inducing an accident - the car directly in front and the car in front of that car as well. Both may drive erratically.
  • Check the brake lights. A common trait in many vehicles involved in crash for cash is the failure of the vehicle's brake lights.
  • Is the car in front moving particularly slowly or is it slowing down and speeding up for no apparent reason? If the driver in front is focusing on the back of the vehicle, that could be a sign they are looking for an opportunity to induce an accident.