Insurance scams are a significant problem today, with con men and women staging car crashes, towing scams and fake injuries. Honest drivers often get caught in these well-planned scenarios, not realizing that they are the victim of crafty criminals. The potential results include inflated insurance premium costs, serious injuries and hours of frustration and fear. Below are some of the most common scams and ways to avoid them on the road.
Common Auto Accident Scams
In each of these orchestrated accidents, the criminals stage collisions that place you at fault. You may have heard of the swoop and squat, arguably the most common of these devious plots. In this scenario, also called the swoop and stop, one car will suddenly cut you off and slam on the breaks. Simultaneously, another car pulls alongside you, preventing you from swerving and causing you to hit the first car from behind.
In the wave or drive-down, a dishonest driver waves you on then quickly accelerates, causing you to hit him or her. The “victims” then claim to have neck or other injuries that ultimately result in large cash payouts from your insurance company. Witnesses who are part of the scam will come forward immediately, supporting the criminals’ version of the incident and leaving you stuck with the liability.
How to Avoid Being Caught Up in a Scam
Even if you are a careful and alert driver, you can become the victim in one of these scams before you realize what’s happening. Experts advise staying in your lane, always following right-of-way rules and always leaving plenty of room between you and the car in front. Maintain safe speeds and remain vigilant behind the wheel. Because distracted driving is such a topic of discussion today, insurance scammers have begun reporting to law enforcement officers that they witnessed the innocent driver texting or using the phone behind the wheel. You can help fellow motorists as well. Stop and give your statement if you see someone else falling victim to scammers.
If You Believe You Have Been a Victim
Contact the police immediately any time you are involved in an auto accident, but especially if you believe a scam is in progress. Count the number of passengers in the other vehicles and take cell phone photos to support your observances. Record the license number of any other cars involved as well as a full description of the vehicle. Try to get names and contact information of the other passengers, but ensure your own safety first. Be sure that the officer at the scene provides a thorough description of all damage to the vehicle and any injuries reported by the other driver and passengers. Back that information up with your own photos. Alert the officer to your suspicions, because most police officers are well aware of these scams.
In many staged accidents, a tow truck driver miraculously shows up at the scene, seemingly by coincidence. This is just one more part of the show, and the towing service will likely charge inflated rates or take your vehicle to a repair shop that’s in on the scam. In the Salt Lake City area, Dent Master provides high-quality collision damage repair and free 24-hour towing services. If you’ve been involved in any car accident, contact Dent Master for peace of mind and to help avoid further insurance scams.