Exposure mounts on accident scams

The managing director of Claims Management & Adjusting (CMA), Philip Swift, a former police detective, has provided expert insight for a TV exposé on the scam known as ‘cash for crash’.

The fifth programme in the Undercover Criminal series – to be screened on Channel 5 tonight (Wednesday 23 November at 10pm) – sees investigative journalist Paul Connolly actually being involved in a car crash staged by a gang to fleece insurance firms. He takes a front seat as the ‘accident’ happens.

Philip Swift said, ‘So-called cash for crash scams have been around since at least the mid-1990s, but over the last few years both the police and the insurance industry have become far more adept at identifying them. There have been several high profile convictions and the message finally seems to be getting across that this is far from a victimless crime.

‘First and foremost there’s the innocent drivers targeted in staged accidents, for whom it can be a shocking experience. Further to that, every motorist likely suffers from increased premiums to cover the costs associated with exaggerated or fraudulent claims. Finally, and perhaps worst of all from the law-abiding person’s perspective, genuine claims can be treated with an element of suspicion thanks to a small minority who abuse the system.’