Warning over new accident scam flash for cash
August 16, 2013
Drivers are being warned about a scam where criminals are flashing their lights to allow other drivers out at junctions and are then crashing into them purposely. Experts in the industry are calling the scam flash for cash. These gangs are usually targetting newer and smarter vehicles as well as road users who appear to be more vulnerable, such as older people or women with children in their vehicle. 

This scam is costing insurance companies hundreds of millions of pounds each year. 

This is a new tactic for a crime that is actually already established which is called crash for cash, where criminals put on their brakes out of nowhere so that the victim then drives into the rear of their vehicle. 

Investigators also said that the criminals will often remove their brake light bulbs so other people don't realise that they are stopping. 

Though flash for cash is more crafty as it is harder for it to be proven in court, often coming down to the innocent drivers word against the criminals that they flashed their lights to let them out. 

Each pretend accident can apparently make the gang tens of thousands of pounds, in a variety of different ways. 

First of all they put in fake personal inury claims for whiplash, sometimes these include claims for people who weren't even in the vehicle at the time of the crash. As well as that they may charge the insurance company for loss of earnings too, then they put false bills in for recovery, repairs, vehicle storage and replacement car hire. 

A spokesperson for the metropolitan police has said that this type of crime costs the industry an absolute fortune and of course it is the honest, insurance paying motorist who is left footing the bill. 

The spokesperson said that it is actually a growing problem is costs insurers £392m every year, which impacts on motorists as it is an extra £50 to £100 on top of everyone's premium. He went on to say that there was also emotional costs as being involved in a crash could mean people lsing their confidence and if you have children in the car they could be wary of being driven around and of course there is also the risk of being injured or killed. 

The latest warning for flash for cash has come from Asset Protection Unit, a company which assists the police and the insurance industry in investigating fraud. A spokesperson for the company said that the criminals usually pick on people they think are not going to put up a fight. 

Drivers are actually not meant to flash their headlights to let people out onto busy roads. It is actually meant to be used as a warning. 

The highway code says that you should only flash your headlights to make other road users aware that you are there. Don't flash your headlights to convey any other message or to intimidate other users on the roads. Never assume that someone flashing their headlights is a signal inviting you to proceed. Use your own judgement and proceed carefully. 

The reality is however that many people do use flashing headlights as a friendly gesture and law abiding drivers feel that it is a shame that something that is meant to be a show of good manners on the roads, is now being abused by people who want to do no good. 

Fraud experts and the police believe that by raising awareness and making people more aware of these sorts of things, there is a really good chance that many drivers will not take the bait when the criminals try laying their trap. 
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