Car Insurance scam: Drivers could be targeted by new click to call fraud after crashing
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Car insurance customers may become a victim of the fraud in their panic to contact insurance providers to report an incident. However, drivers may really be calling dodgy claims firms who will steal personal details to offer a range of expensive services to vulnerable road users.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IEFD) have all issued critical warnings about the dangers road users may face.
The simple scam works when a driver searches up their insurer’s contact details through search engines.
Scammers pay for misleading “click to call” ad results which look to represent the insurer in a bid to trick the driver.
Motorists which fall for this will often speak to a claims management firm or marketing company which will ask for personal details to help them “support” a driver.
They will then offer drivers a range of expensive services such as fixing a damaged car, replacing it with a new model or processing a claim against another driver.
Motorists then agree to these expensive services believing they will be covered by their fully comprehensive insurance cover.
Because these are separate from your insurance, the repairs will not be covered by your policy which will leave drivers forced to pay out thousands of pounds extra.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe and Head of the IFED earned scammers aim to target motorosts when they are “most vulnerable”.
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He warned drivers may be “anxious and panicked” which could cause them to rush into a call without checking they are speaking to the right firm.
He said: “We know that fraudsters often try and target people when they’re at their most vulnerable, and ‘click-to-call’ insurer ads is a prime example of this.
“Immediately after someone is involved in a collision, it’s likely they’ll be anxious and panicked, and this is when they’re most susceptible.”
“While we understand it’s natural to have these feelings, we’d urge people to try and remain calm and focused in this situation, being especially cautious if they use a search engine to search for their insurer’s details.”
The IFB says they received over 300 reports of dodgy claims firms which appeared to represent insurers on online scratch engines in 2019.
But they warned this figure may only scratch the surface as many drivers are still unaware they have been redirected to another company.
The only drivers able to report the incident were those who searched on a computer and then called a number through their phone.
This is because those on mobile devices simply “clicked to call” a number which is often different to the number displayed on an online advertisement.
Because of this simple loophole, most claims firms looking to scam drivers only place adverts on movie devices.
Mark Allen, manager of Fraud and Financial Crime at the ABI warned that the money lost through these scams are eventually paid for by “honest insurance customers”.
This is because firms must recoup any losses by charging road users more for their agreements.
He said: “People need to be on their guard against rogue claims firms, who encourage inflated, frivolous or false claims, and are always looking for new scams.
“These end up being paid for by all honest insurance customers through their premiums.
“People should only use the contact details of the insurer from their policy documents, confirm who they are talking to, and not assume that all online sites are genuine.”
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