Common Car Crash Scams And How To Avoid Them

Although most car crashes are unintentional, there are criminals who cause a wreck on purpose with the intent of defrauding an innocent victim’s insurance company.

By knowing how these schemes work, motorists have a better chance of avoiding them.

Florida’s Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud, the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Florida Highway Patrol are collaborating on a campaign to put a stop to staged crashes.

Criminals use paid witnesses, unethical attorneys and corrupt medical providers to promote and gain from the fraud. An interactive website provides animated examples of how these crashes are initiated.

The basic schemes are:

Swoop and Squat: The driver of Vehicle 1, who is in on the scheme, purposely drives a short distance in front of an innocent driver, when the driver of Vehicle 2, also in on the scheme, suddenly swoops in front of Vehicle 1. The driver of Vehicle 1 hits his brakes and causes a rear-end collision with the victim behind him.

Drive Down: When a driver is trying to merge into traffic, a scheming driver slows down and waves the victim forward. Once the victim proceeds, the schemer crashes into the victim’s vehicle and denies to law enforcement that he waved the other driver through and blames the crash on the other driver.

Panic Stop: The scheming driver of a vehicle drives in front of a victim. An observer in the schemer’s vehicle waits for the victim to take his eyes off the road, for example to text or talk to a passenger, then signals the driver to slam the brakes to create a rear-end collision.

Tips to help drivers avoid a staged crash:

Never tailgate.

Call law enforcement to a crash scene.

Use a camera to document any crash damage and the number of passengers in other vehicles.

Avoid people who suddenly appear at a crash scene and try to direct you to doctors and attorneys.

Be wary of physicians who insist on filing a personal injury claim after a crash, especially for those who aren’t hurt.

Avoid tow trucks that arrive on the scene without anyone having called for service.

After witnessing a crash, provide details to law enforcement officers.

Source: Consumer Insurance Guide

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