Staged Car Accidents

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Staged Car Accidents

The Scam

Swoop and Squat. A suspect vehicle suddenly swoops in front of you and jams on the brakes, causing a rear-end collision. Often the suspect car has passengers who pretend to have painful back or neck injuries, even though the collision was at low speed. The driver and passengers then make large collision and injury claims against your auto policy, for example.

Drive Down. You’re trying to merge into traffic, and a dishonest driver slows down and waves you forward. He then crashes into your car, but denies waving you into traffic and blames the accident on you. Crooked drivers may also wave you out of a parking space with the same come-on.

Sideswipe. Be careful if you’re driving in the inner lane of a dual left-turn lane at a busy intersection. Crooks will deliberately ram you if you drift into the outer lane while turning.

Shady Helpers. A stranger may approach you at the crash site, or phone you right afterward. The stranger tries to badger you into getting medical treatment at a specific clinic, repairs at a specific body shop, or assistance from a specific lawyer. Be careful: It may be a setup for fraudulent medical treatment, car repairs — and bogus insurance claims. You could be headed for trouble. Think hard before getting involved with strangers like these.

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud warns that older drivers, solo drivers, and owners of new cars are targeted as innocent victims of these collisions.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau is the place to call to report fraud 1-800-835-6422 (24 hours a day, seven days a week).

SOURCE:, December 1, 2003

The price you pay

Record blemished. You have a costly claim on your insurance record — this could raise your auto premiums hundreds of dollars, or even mean your policy isn’t renewed.

Victims terrorized, killed. Innocent drivers are terrorized, injured and even killed by these schemes. One entire family, including an infant daughter, died when their car was hit by a truck when a staged accident went wrong.

Life disrupted. Your life is disrupted as you deal with the seemingly endless details of car repairs, claim settlement, police reports, lawyers, possible lawsuits and other problems.

Premiums rise. Everyone’s auto premiums rise because insurance companies pass the costs of bogus claims onto honest policyholders.

Fight back

Honest citizens like you can fight back, protect yourself and put crooks like these behind bars.

* Keep a safe distance from the car in front of you

* Keep a disposable camera, paper and pen in your glove compartment

* Get good information about the other driver: driver’s license, vehicle registration, proof of insurance

* Count the number of passengers in the other car and get their names, addresses, telephone numbers and drivers licenses. Make note if they were wearing seat belts. Did they act injured only after the police arrived?

* Get names, addresses and phone numbers for any witnesses

* Photograph the damage to your car and passengers with your camera

* Call the police to the scene if the collision appears planned or if damage to the other car is extensive