Auto accidents sometimes are no accident at all, but a staged production by criminals where you are unknowingly and innocently made an actor. Before you take to the road, learn to recognize auto accident scams to help prevent you and your family from becoming victims.
Swoop and Squat
Two vehicles work as a team to set up an accident. One vehicle pulls in front of an innocent driver and the other alongside, blocking the victim in. The lead car stops short, causing the victim to rear-end him. The car that pulled up alongside serves as a block and prevents the victim from avoiding a collision.
As an innocent driver tries to merge into traffic, the suspect driver yields, waving on the other driver. As this innocent driver merges, the suspect driver intentionally collides with the victim and denies giving him the right of way.
Start and Stop
Stopped in the same lane of traffic, the suspect's vehicle is positioned directly in front of the victim. The suspect starts to move forward as does the innocent driver. For no reason, the suspect vehicle suddenly stops short, causing the victim to rear-end him.
Sideswiping in a Two-Lane Turn
At an intersection that has two left turn lanes, the suspect crosses the center-line, intentionally sideswiping the victim's car. The suspect then alleges that the victim caused the collision by entering his lane.
Always drive defensively to help ensure your safety and lessen the likelihood of having an auto accident. If you are involved in an accident, take the following fraud prevention measures:
- Always call the police, regardless of who is at fault or the amount of property damage. Make sure an official police report is filed, even if damage is negligible. When the report describes the damage to the other car as a "nick" for instance, it helps prevent the other party from collecting damages not resulting from the loss. An accurate account of accident details is important when evaluating whether a claim is valid.
- Count the number of passengers in the other car. If possible, get the name, address and driver license number of all occupants. This helps prevents frivolous lawsuits and claims paid to people who weren't actually in the car. Keep an accurate record of what happened for your personal records.
- Immediately notify your insurance carrier if you are involved in any accident. Claim representatives are trained to recognize indicators of fraud and investigate suspicious claims.
Insurance fraud is big business, costing Americans an estimated $20 to $30 billion annually. For you, that translates into $200 to $300 in additional insurance premiums each year, according to The National Insurance Crime Prevention Bureau statistics.
To anonymously report fraud, call the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) at 1-800-TEL-NICB.