Avoid Becoming a Victim to the Staged Car Crash Scam
My kids love to go on Reddit and watch videos of people trying to scam drivers by making it seem like they were hit by the car. Here are some of their favorites:
Thank goodness for dash cams, right?
But the reality is, it happens in the United States, too, and it could happen to you. Scammers usually meticulously plan their staged car accidents, leaving nothing to chance. They practice until they get it right and even if you can see the accident was staged, onlookers or witnesses may only catch a glimpse and think they see something they didn't.
Here are some of the most common staged accidents. They include:
- The T-Bone – the scammer will accelerate into an intersection as you pass and claim you ran the light.
- The Wave – they’ll wave you into a lane if they see you making a lane change, then accelerate into your car and claim you merged when it wasn’t safe.
- Dual-Turn Sideswipe – when making a left from a dual-left turn lane, the scammer will veer into you while making the turn, and claim you were the one that came out of the lane. (They’ll usually have witnesses standing by to back up their version of events.)
- Stopping Short – the scammer slams on their brakes when your car is close behind so that you will crash into the rear of the vehicle.
- Swoop and Stop – the scammer will suddenly pull in front of yours and stop. Another vehicle will simultaneously pull up alongside your car, preventing you from swerving to avoid an accident.
Furthering the scams
These scammers and their "passengers" will often also claim injuries they didn't incur. They may also be in cahoots with shady doctors and chiropractors, who will inflate their billings and order all types of medical services to that end.
Others may go to legitimate doctors and claim back injuries, which are difficult to prove. They may also sue for damages.
These car crash scams can leave you paying for damages you didn't cause. They also take time. Even if your insurer covers the crash and the damage to your car, you will still be without your car for a time and dealing with insurance paperwork and the repair shop.
And the "accident" can lead to higher insurance premiums for you later.
Avoiding Getting Scammed
- One of the best ways to avoid being the victim of a fake accident claim is by exercising caution while driving.
- If you believe you are being targeted by someone staging an accident, do not leave the scene. Call the police and let the officers who respond handle taking a report of the accident.
- If the above video was of any proof, install a dash cam. These can be all the proof you need to refute the scammer's side of the story.
- Keep a camera (if you don't have a smartphone), pen and paper in the car so that you can take photos and notes at the scene.
- Take pics from every angle of the involved vehicles, with special focus on the damage. Also, capture on camera the license plate, as well as photos of the driver and all the passengers in the other vehicle.
Take down the following information:
- Driver license number.
- Vehicle registration information.
- Car insurance information.
- Name, address and phone number.
- The general height and weight (as well as the ethnicity) of the other car's driver and passengers.
Also, be sure to call the police if you suspect that you were in a staged accident. Whatever you do, don't offer cash to the other driver to settle the damage.
Have you been in a car accident recently and suspect you’ve been scammed? Give me a call and I will help make sure we get it sorted out.