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  1. ITV Report

West Midlands taxi drivers fall victim to 'crash-for-cash' scams

A taxi driver who has been doing his job for ten years had his insurance increased to £8000 when he found himself in the middle of a 'crash-for-crash' scam.

Sanjeev Dhariwal describes himself as a careful driver but two months ago when he was approaching the traffic lights at Five ways Island in Birmingham, he was forced to slam down his breaks.

The vehicle in front had suddenly come to a stop.

He believes he's the victim of a crash for cash scam where fraudsters deliberately cause smashes to profit from insurance claims.

It changed to red, everyone left and it was just this one car and he just stopped. I went straight into him.

The first time it happened, my insurance went up to £8000. That was about five to six years ago and it has only come down to £5000 in that time."

– Sanjeev Dhariwal

Another taxi driver, crashed at the same place just three weeks ago.

Ahmed Hassan says he hasn't been able to work ever since the crash. He says it has cost him nearly £1000 worth of damage.

Drivers across the West Midlands are being targeted by highly-sophisticated criminal gangs in 'crash for cash' scams.

Crash for cash scams are when accidents are staged so false insurance claims can be made.

In 2017, Birmingham was named in a table of crash for cash hotspots.

Birmingham was named as a 'crash-for-cash' hotspot in 2017. Credit: ITV Central News

According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau, crash for cash is a significant problem that costs the industry £340 million.

The IFB says it deals with thousands of cases every year.

Currently it is investigating more than 200 large-scale incidents, most of which are crash for cash.

They get 6000 reports to their cheat line each year about different types of fraud but manufactured collisions are most common.

Motorists are urged to keep their distance and beware of tailgaters.

They are also being advised to keep an eye out for brake lights that aren't working and take extra care at roundabouts or areas of stop start congestion.