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Many of the suspected fraudsters are believed to be couriers delivering items such as take-aways (Image: Insurance Fraud Bureau)

People are being warned of a network of crash for cash fraudsters on mopeds who are targeting innocent road users.

A multi-agency investigation led by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), and several insurers, found an estimated 2,250 people in London were victims of crash for cash moped scams in the past two years.

Many of the suspected fraudsters are believed to be couriers delivering items such as take-aways and are predominantly targeting drivers in the most affluent areas.

What is the scam?

Unlike traditional crash for cash scams where fraudsters slam on their car’s brake in the hope that the victim behind can’t stop in time, this con involves mopeds being driven at oncoming cars.

The moped scammer hides out of sight in a side road or parking space, and then deliberately drives into the victim as they head towards them.

They then usually throw their moped to the ground and drop to the floor to dramatise an injury, before taking photos of the incident.

The fraudster sometimes has an accomplice to act as a witness and help facilitate the fraud. There have also been reports of the accomplice using a van to help obscure the victim’s view before the moped drives into them, making the scam easier to carry out.

Ursula Jallow, Director at IFB, said: “Crash for cash moped scams have become epidemic in our capital. These dangerous fraudsters are driving head-first into unsuspecting motorists, leaving countless victims terrified and insurers facing millions of pounds in bogus claims.

“We’re collaborating closely with IFED and the insurance industry to bring every one of these reckless fraudsters to justice. We encourage all Londoners to watch out for the unique signs of crash for cash moped scams and to report any evidence to our Cheatline.”

Detective Chief Inspector Tom Hill, at City of London Police’s IFED, said: “Crash for cash fraudsters have little regard for the lasting impact that their actions can have on victims, so it is concerning to see that over 2,200 people have been targeted by moped drivers in just two years.

“We urge road users to learn the tell-tale signs that can precede these collisions, as knowing them can help protect you from falling victim. If you suspect you have been targeted, report it to Cheatline.”

Matthew Stevens, Anti-Fraud Director at Hastings Direct, said: “This type of fraud not only has a negative impact on insurance premiums, it is also very dangerous.

“It is a clear demonstration that these criminals have no regard for public safety and no concern for innocent and unsuspecting road users, who are often left traumatised following these incidents.”

What is the scale of the issue?

IFB and IFED’s ongoing investigations into crash for cash indicate similar incidents could date as far back as 10 years ago.

However, since 2021 there has been a surge in activity with collisions reported across London’s most affluent boroughs, including Barnet, Brent, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Hackney, Islington, and Kensington and Chelsea.

Most reported incidents have taken place in North London.

Mark Allen, Assistant Director, Head of Fraud and Financial Services, Association of British Insurers, said: “Staged crash for cash scams are a dangerous menace on our roads. Often highly organised, and constantly looking for new targets to exploit, these criminals put lives at risk.

“The industry is determined to do all it can to protect innocent motorists from these frauds through working collaboratively to drive this scourge from our roads.”

If someone thinks they have been targeted in a crash for cash moped scam, they should contact their local police force if they feel in any immediate danger and inform their insurer of the incident.

Evidence of the scam can be reported to IFB’s confidential Cheatline service, via an online form or the phoneline, powered by CrimeStoppers at 0800 422 0421.

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