24 Arrests For ‘Cash for Crash’ Scams

Police issue stark warning against making false insurance claims

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Traffic police and investigators from the Insurance Fraud Bureau have issued a stark warning to those taking part in false insurance claims or "Cash for Crash" scams.

The warning comes after 24 people believed to be involved in fraudulent car insurance scams were arrested across London this morning, 2nd July, of which more than half reside in Hounslow and Ealing boroughs.

Officers conducting the investigation, supported by the Insurance Fraud Bureau, believe people are being tempted to participate in insurance fraud by a wider criminal network. These people are promised money in return and told there is little or no risk of police action.

The network organisers recruit people, mainly otherwise law-abiding citizens, to help them carry out a variety of so-called "Cash for Crash" scams involving staging motor accidents and making false insurance claims.

Those arrested are not thought to be the organisers of the frauds, but place themselves at risk of injury and prosecution in return for modest sums of money in comparison to the returns the organisers reap.

Figures from the IFB estimate that, insurance fraud costs the paying public over £1.6bn per annum adding on average 5% to honest policy holders premiums.

Supt Glyn Jones said, "Some people may see this as a victimless crime but it certainly isn't. Most law-abiding citizens pay some form of insurance and criminal activity such as this pushes up everyone's premiums. People who get involved in scams like this will be prosecuted."

John Beadle, Chairman of the IFB said, "The IFB is working together with members and the Metropolitan Police to address "cash for crash" scams, some of which create a very real threat to public safety. The success of today's police action demonstrates the power of the private and public sector working collaboratively. On behalf of the insurance industry we will continue to work closely with the police to protect innocent motorists and policyholders. I would urge anyone with information on insurance fraud to call the free and confidential Cheat Line run by the IFB on 0800 328 2550.

The operation is ongoing and there may be further arrests.

24 people are currently in custody at west London police stations.

July 2, 2008