The average car insurance customer has around £40 added to the cost of their premiums as a result of 'cash-for-crash' gangs, which intentionally cause accidents in order to make false or inflated insurance claims.
According to research from car insurance provider MORE TH>N, innocent motorists are paying more than they should have to for their cover, as a result of these highway bandits who deliberately cause accidents to cash in on the insurance.
The main reason that a more of these criminals are not brought to justice has to do with the ignorance of the victims, who are often unaware that they have been crashed into on purpose, with 41 per cent of drivers asked saying they have never heard of this form of criminal activity.
Insurers and the police have successfully reduced instances of cash-for-crash crime by 11 per cent in the last two years, but public awareness has not risen during this time, MORE TH>N has found.
Two thirds of motorists said they would not even know if they had been targeted by a fraudster in this way, while a further third said they would not know what to do in this situation even if they were aware of the crime which was being committed.
MORE TH>N is concerned about the number of these crimes that could be going unreported because people are unaware that a wrongdoing has taken place, so it is often not detected unless an anomaly is noticed during the car insurance claims process.
Commenting on the statistics, Pete Markey, spokesman for MORE TH>N car insurance, said: "If more drivers were made aware of the dangers they are facing, it becomes more likely that they will be able to report anything unusual to their insurance company who could then make investigations and cut down on levels of fraud."
To try and avoid becoming the next victim of cash-for-crash gangs, MORE TH>N recommends that drivers remain on their guard, especially at roundabouts and junctions, where the fraudsters know drivers' attention will be on the road, maintaining a safe distance from others cars, and remaining aware of other drivers in the rear-view mirror as the gangs often work in a group, complete with 'witnesses' to the accidents.
If a driver suspects they have been involved in an incident of cash-for-crash, MORE TH>N urges them to take a good description of the driver and their vehicle, and to report it to their car insurance company immediately.
Mr Markey added: "What's more, not only does insurance fraud put innocent lives at risk, but it is also responsible for adding about £40 to the average honest policy holder's premium so its in everyone's interests that we make it harder for crooks."
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