Public fights back against insurance cheats

The UK public is being thanked by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) for fighting back against insurance cheats and reporting valuable information they have about insurance fraud to the IFB’s ‘Cheatline’.

In 2014 over 500 reports were made to the Cheatline every month by members of the public, 6,347 reports in total for the year, and the IFB attributes the number of reports and the quality of the information to increased public awareness of the issue combined with the realisation that insurance fraud is not a victimless crime.

Ben Fletcher, Director of the IFB, said, ‘The number of reports to the Cheatline shows that the public shares our contempt for insurance fraud while indicating that this crime is a nation-wide problem. The Cheatline is a tool which enables members of the public to turn frustration they feel towards insurance cheats into safe, positive action.’

The Cheatline, powered by Crimestoppers, is a free telephone and online service which enables members of the public to anonymously report what they know about any type of insurance fraud, taking place anywhere in the UK. This information plays a vital role as it enables insurers to reject false claims and help bring fraudsters to justice.

Fletcher continued, ‘Because people can report to the Cheatline anonymously then this provides us with a wealth of information that the police and insurers don’t always have access to. Every Cheatline report is scrutinised by the IFB and the information we receive from the public complements the wide array of data from the police, insurance industry, regulators and other agencies that we have unique access to. This then enables us to develop substantial evidence packages which are used to support police investigations to jail insurance fraudsters.’

‘The value of the Cheatline in helping to fight fraud shouldn’t be under-estimated as one in five of our IFB investigations, where we are working closely with a police force to investigate insurance fraud, have received important information from the public via the Cheatline. We can’t thank the public enough for their support.’

In 2014, reports to the Cheatline ranged from opportunistic fraud (59%), for instance where an individual has exaggerated a claim, through to reports from the public who are alerting the IFB to organised insurance fraud (41% of all reports). Information supplied to the Cheatline has contributed to a number of high-profile insurance fraud investigations which have resulted in the fraudsters receiving significant prison sentences. There is even an example of an insurance fraudster reporting themselves directly to the Cheatline.

Recent statistics published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) reveal that, in 2014, the insurance industry uncovered 350 insurance frauds totalling £3.6 million every day. Honest consumers are now taking their stand and helping the insurance industry to fight back against the insurance cheats by reporting what they know through confidential tools such as the IFB’s Cheatline.

Director of operations for Crimestoppers, Roger Critchell said, ‘Insurance fraud is not a victimless offence and is a crime we all end up paying for because our premiums go up as a result.’

‘It’s for this reason that I ask local communities to continue using the Cheatline, powered by Crimestoppers, and help us improve even more on the impressive results that have been achieved thus far. However, we don’t want to rest on past accomplishments, so we need your help to bring even more insurance fraudsters to justice by picking up the phone and contacting us anonymously.’

 

The Cheatline in numbers

IFB investigations:

  • Cheatline reports are connected to 16 live IFB investigations (that is one in five of  investigations where the IFB is working closely with the police), 11 of which are investigating organised ‘crash for cash’ fraud rings and two are focused on disrupting ghost broking scams.

Cheatline anonymity:

  • In 2014, nearly two thirds (63%) of all reports made to the Cheatline by the public were anonymous.

Organised insurance fraud:

  • In 2014, 41% of reports to the Cheatline were fraudsters operating organised insurance fraud scams and 29% of these reports were about organised motor fraud.

Motor insurance fraud vs. household insurance fraud:

  • In 2014, 71% of all Cheatline reports received related to motor insurance fraud.
  • In 2014, 11% of all Cheatline reports received related to household insurance fraud.

Reports on ‘crash for cash’ and ghost broking fraud:

  • In 2014, 18% of all Cheatline reports received were about ‘crash for cash’ insurance fraud scams.
  • In 2014, 23% of all Cheatline reports received were in relation to motor insurance application fraud, including ghost broking scams.

Household insurance fraud:

  • In 2014, 33% of all household fraud reports were in relation to ‘theft’ claims.
  • 34% of all household fraud reports to the Cheatline in 2014 were connected to ‘loss of water’ claims. Examples of ‘loss of water’ claims include burst pipes and leaks.

Top four fraud types reported to the Cheatline in 2014:

  • Misrepresentation – 36%

This means where someone has deliberately provided information that is incorrect. For example, dates of birth, addresses, who was driving the vehicle.

  • Exaggerated injury – 20%
  • Exaggerated loss – 19%
  • Staged accident – 7%.