Drivers are being warned of a new crash scam that sees fraudsters lurk on residential roads, fake collisions and force drivers to hand over cash.
The new con is a twist on the traditional “crash for cash” scams where scammers purposefully cause a collision.
It involves scammers accusing drivers of clipping their wing mirror, before becoming threatening and demanding cash up front.
It often takes place on a residential road, according to the police.
The fraudster waits in a parked car and as the victim drives by, they throw a heavy object such as a rock at their car to make the sound of a crash.
They then flash their lights at the victim to get them to stop, before accusing them of clipping their wing mirror, which was already damaged.
The scammer demands the driver hands over cash or pressures them into visiting a cashpoint.
In some cases where the victim has not agreed to hand over money, the offender has become physically intimidating.
The scam warning was issued by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) and City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), as well as several insurers.
The IFB and IFED are investigating more than 40 incidents where innocent people appear to have been targeted, but they are concerned hundreds of cases could be going unreported because people do not recognise the scam tactics.
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Ursula Jallow, director at IFB, said: “Clip for cash is an increasing threat to drivers.
“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.”
Some insurers said they were seeing younger drivers and the elderly being targeted.
Money should never be handed over at the scene, police said, even if a genuine collision has happened.
If someone is accused of damaging a wing mirror, insurance details should be swapped as is legally required. If there is an imminent risk of danger, police should be called.