Sheffield one of worst areas in country for 'crash for cash' scams

Generic picture of a collision.
Generic picture of a collision.

Sheffield has been named as one of the most targeted areas in the country for 'crash for cash' scams - where fraudsters deliberately collide with the cars of innocent drivers in a bid to claim insurance payouts.

The S9 postcode - Attercliffe, Brightside, Darnall, Meadowhall, Tinsley and Wincobank - was ranked as the 17th highest postcode area in the UK for the scam in a survey by the Insurance Fraud Bureau.

Graphic showing the hot spot areas in the UK.

Graphic showing the hot spot areas in the UK.

The survey comes after a series of incidents were reported across the country in April, including some in Sheffield.

At the time one woman said she feared for her life when a car in front of her slammed on the breaks while she was travelling at about 70mph in the city.

And this has been a long-standing problem for the area, as the same survey by the IFB revealed Sheffield as one of the most hit areas in the UK as far back as 2007, which revealed there had been 372 incidents since the turn of the millennium.

The latest study estimated this type of scam costs the insurance industry as much as £336 million each year - mainly through whiplash injury payouts.

IFB director Ben Fletcher said at least one person is know to have died in what is a 'reckless and incredibly dangerous' scam.

He added: "These scams may seem to some to be a harmless way to beat the system and get an easy pay out with minimal risk.

"The reality is that not only do those people now stand a very good chance of getting caught and facing the consequences, but these scams put other motorist’s lives at risk.

"Fraudsters are taking vehicles out on public roads and forcing innocent people into needless collisions."

Birmingham has the highest rate in the country, with 10 separate postcodes featuring in the top 30, while both Manchester and Bradford contain five different postcodes with a high incident rate.

Due to the complex way the statistics are compiled, the IFB has chosen not to release the specific number of incidents for each postcode.

A spokeswoman said: "The number of accidents are proportionate to the estimated number of vehicles in an area. So you could have 500 accidents in an area with 1000 cars, and the same number of accidents in an area where there are a million cars.

"They have the same number of accidents but it would be unfair to class them as the same because they are not proportionate. So we have decided not to release the specific numbers as one area could end up unfairly ranked the same or higher than another."

However, nationally the most recent figures show there were 55, 573 personal injury claims linked to crash for cash scams in 2015.

The IFB warned that if you notice any of the following triggers, it may be a sign that someone is trying to scam you:-

*The other driver being uncharacteristically calm for someone that’s just been involved in a car accident

*The driver having already written down their insurance details prior to the accident

*Any claimed injuries appearing to be completely at odds with the force of the impact.

Report scams to police on 101 or call the IFB's Cheatline on 0800 422 0421.

*Have you been a victim of the crash for cash scams? Email lee.peace@jpress.co.uk