Fraudsters are using threats and intimidation to con drivers out of hundreds of pounds in a new insurance scam.
Fraud experts have urged drivers to look out for so-called “clip for cash” scams, which are becoming more common around the country as criminals look for new ways to rip off innocent drivers. The con involves fraudsters faking damage then demanding cash at the scene, with younger and elderly drivers believed to be most targeted.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) and City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) say they are investigating more than 40 suspect cases per week and have had reports of incidents from other parts of the country. They also believe the number of incidents could be far higher as drivers don’t report being targeted.
Unlike traditional crash for cash scams where fraudsters cause a collision, “clip for cash” involves criminals accusing drivers of clipping their wing mirror, before becoming threatening and demanding cash up front.
The con nearly always takes place on a residential road where traffic is moving slowly. As the victim drives by slowly, the fraudster is parked in their car on the left-hand side of the road and throws an object at the side of the victim’s car to make an impact sound.
The fraudsters then flash their lights to get the victim to stop, before accusing them of causing pre-existing damage. They then demand cash on the spot - sometimes as much as £200 - or pressure the victim into visit a cashpoint, and become threatening if the victim refuses.
Ursula Jallow, director at IFB, said the scam, which was first identified in 2021, was an increasing threat to drivers. She added: “These fraudsters trick innocent motorists into thinking they’ve caused genuine damage and then apply pressure tactics to get victims to hand over cash. As there is little awareness of this new fraud type, it means drivers are more susceptible to falling victim. We’re urging everyone to look out for the warning signs of these wing mirror stings and report it to Cheatline and Action Fraud.”
Ben Fletcher, director of financial crime at LV= General Insurance, said: “Fraudsters are constantly evolving their tactics, and this is another example of how they prey on the vulnerable. We’re seeing younger and elderly drivers targeted, as they’re more likely to fall for this awful scam.”
Det Insp Philip Corcoran at IFED, added: “Nobody should pressure you into handing over money at the scene of a collision. If you suspect you have fallen victim to this scam, report it to IFB’s Cheatline and to Action Fraud.”
The IFB is also urging any driver faced with a suspected clip for cash scam to take simple steps to protect themselves:
- Don’t hand over any money at the scene, regardless of whether a genuine collision has taken place or not
- Insist on swapping insurance details. A reluctance to do so could indicate a con
- Photograph any claimed damage
- If there is an imminent risk of danger, call the police
- Inform your own insurer
- If you think you’ve been targeted by fraudsters, tell your insurer and local police force. Also report your concerns to IFB’s Cheatline and Action Fraud, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting service.