Stay Safe From Insurance Scams

Insurance scams take many forms. It could be fake policies for sale on social media, people being tricked into thinking they’re entitled to compensation or criminals that deliberately crash into other drivers to make a claim. In recent months, we’ve also seen an increase in fraudsters targeting people effected by Covid-19 to steal money and personal information.

Insurance scams are estimated to cost consumers in the UK more £3 billion each year.

A YouGov survey into the public’s understanding of insurance scams showed:

  • 95% of the people sampled ‘knew little’ or ‘knew nothing’ about insurance fraud.
  • Only 18% had heard of claims farming.
  • Only 15% had heard of Ghost Broking.
  • A total of 58% were either ‘very worried’ or ‘fairly worried’ about falling victim to data theft.

Report insurance fraud to CheatLine by calling 0800 422 0421.

It’s safe, easy and completely confidential – and if you don’t want to provide your details, that’s okay. You can do it anonymously. There are three pages of questions that should only take a few minutes to complete depending upon the information you have. The first page asks for details about the perpetrators, the second asks for further information you might have, the third asks how you know about CheatLine and if we can contact you should we need to; you simply need to say yes and leave contact details, or no and report anonymously.

We share the information you provide with insurers, the police and industry watchdogs, helping to protect people from insurance scams.

Typical Insurance Frauds

Application fraud – Where inaccurate or misleading information has been provided to obtain insurance cover.

Claims fraud – You suspect someone has voluntarily provided, or has been coerced to provide inaccurate information as part of an insurance claim.

Claims farming – Actively incentivising someone to make a false claim or provide misleading information as part of a genuine insurance claim.

Data theft – Stealing or acquiring personal data to obtain insurance or make a fraudulent insurance claim.

 

Know the signs of these common insurance scams

Compensation scams

If contacted out of the blue, never provide personal or financial information.

Only make a claim directly through the insurance provider and only use the contact details provided at the point the policy was taken out.

If support is required to manage a claim, use a reputable FCA-registered company or SRA-regulated (Solicitors Regulation Authority) Solicitors firm.

Take steps to protect personal data from being stolen to help to prevent being targeted. Guidance can be found at the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Ghost broking

When buying insurance, check that the seller is registered with:

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) if it’s an Insurance Broker.

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) if it’s an insurer selling motor insurance.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) can also be checked for all Insurance Advisors.

It’s recommended to check that the seller has a legitimate website, UK phone number and address. It’s also important to look out for any behavior that seems unprofessional or unusual.

Crash for Cash

There are several ways drivers can protect themselves from ‘Crash for Cash’ scams:

Keep your distance – Always keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front:

Two seconds in dry conditions. Four seconds in wet conditions. 20 seconds in ice/snow.

Stay alert – Drive safe and stick to the Highway Code. If you see someone driving suspiciously, stay calm and keep back.

Know the signs – if you’re involved in a suspicious collision the other driver or their passengers might:

Appear unphased by the collision.

Display injuries at complete odds with the impact of the collision.

Provide pre-written insurance details.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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Automated Scammer Calls

PPI callers and many others have been using automated systems for years that call and ask you questions then get you to press a button to be connected to an agent.

Automated systems are a lot cheaper than staff so for the criminals engaged in large scale scamming, this can be the most efficient way.

Action Fraud Technical Support Scam Calls

Action Fraud say people are receiving cold-calls from fraudsters claiming to represent Action Fraud. When the calls are answered, an automated voice asks the responder to “press 1 if you have made a report to Action Fraud.” When the responder presses 1, they are transferred to a fraudster.

Victims are informed that their computers have been hacked, which has led to their online bank account being compromised and funds being withdrawn. One particular victim was told that £40,000 had fraudulently left their account.

The scammer may ask for remote access to the victim’s computer, via a remote access tool. Once the scammer has that, they may be able to access confidential information, login and passwords, credit card details etc.

HMRC

This scam sees people called randomly with an automated message warning that they are under investigation by HMRC and need to call the number given or “face serious legal consequences.”

If you call back the crooks will likely ask for your bank details and make off with your money.

HMRC does not make threatening phone calls. HMRC will call people about outstanding tax bills, and sometimes use automated messages, however it would include your taxpayer reference number.

Sophie’s Story

Sophie says

“I have had an automated phone call from this number 081233472243. It was informing me that my internet connection would be cut at 1pm today, press button 1 to speak to an agent or button 2 to stay connected. I chose to hang up.

This is the first time I have had an automated call, I have had a lot of calls lately concerning my internet connection, I always hang up or sometimes they hang up when I tell them I don’t believe they’re from TalkTalk. They always ask me to turn my computer on, I always refuse.”

Good job she didn’t fall for the scam.

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The Modelling Scam

Modelling is thought of by many as a glamorous industry to work in.  For some people, especially younger people it can an option to chase after.

One latest scam targets these people.

Are You Ready To Start Your Modelling Career?”

“New Faces Urgently Required”

“Male and Female”

The email promises to fast track your career.

It says:

Step 1. Take a picture of yourself

Step 2. Fill in the simple form

Step 3. Send in the form

Is this really a model agency looking for new recruits?

No.

There are Marketing companies looking to attract a list of people which they can then send on to photographic studios telling them these people want a professional photoshoot or to agencies telling them these people are keen to sign up and so on. That one list gets sold many times for many reasons.

Some of the messages are pure scam of course – they want your personal information to sell on the dark web to criminals and identity thieves in particular.

If you want a life in modelling – research how to get that and never reply to such emails.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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Stupidest Scam of the Week Caffeine Pants

Norm Thompson Outfitters and Wacoal America claimed their shapewear would help consumers shed cellulite and pounds.

Supposedly it is impregnated with caffeine.

Drinking caffeine does increase your metabolism a little but spilling it on yourself or wearing clothes soaked in the stuff isn’t going to do you any good.

Norm Thompson Outfitters said their undergarments were “infused with micro-encapsulated caffeine, retinol and other ingredients” that would slim and reshape the wearer’s body and reduce cellulite and would mobilize fats and moisturize skin.

They were fined $230,000 by the FTC.

Wacoal made false and unsubstantiated claims that wearing iPants would: substantially reduce cellulite; cause a substantial reduction in the wearer’s thigh measurements; and destroy fat cells, resulting in substantial slimming,

Wacoal, was fined $1.3 million.

Ludicrous

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