On the 7 August 2018, in East London, three men where sentenced to suspended jail terms and community service having been found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud. Their fraud directly targeted minicab drivers after they set up a website called Kab Insure and offered reward insurance policies suitable for drivers carrying goods or passengers. It is believed that in just over a year they issued 65 worthless insurance certificates to unsuspecting drivers who as a result of not having valid insurance were then liable to penalties including:
- Points on their driving licence
- Vehicle seizure and possible destruction of it
- A fixed penalty notice
- Costs to retrieve impounded vehicle
- Liable for claims costs if involved in an accident
The drivers also, of course, also had to spend hundreds of pounds on buying valid insurance.
This type of fraud is referred to as ghost-broking and is a growing problem with Action Fraud, the UK centre for the reporting of fraud receiving 200 to 300 complaints a year and estimating that 20,000 drivers may be victims.
The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) of the City Of London Police has issued the following advice for drivers looking for car insurance:
- If an offer looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
- Ghost brokers often advertise on social media or money-saving forums, university notice boards and marketplace websites. They may also try to sell insurance policies in pubs, clubs or bars, newsagents and car repair shops.
- Be wary of companies that only use mobile phone or email as means contact. Also be cautious of a company that only wants to deal with you via messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook. Fraudsters don’t want to be traced after they’ve taken your money.
- If you are not sure about the broker, check on the Financial Conduct Authority or the British Insurance Brokers’ Association website for a full list of all authorised insurance brokers.
- You can also contact the insurance company directly to verify the broker’s details.
- You can check to see if your car is legitimately insured on the Motor Insurance Database website.
If you fear you have been the victim of this type of fraud it is important that you acr. You can check using the links above and report the case to Action Fraud, However, most importantly you should seek to get a valid replacement cover, it is your legal obligation to have insurance and even though you are a victim of crime you are also at risk of prosecution.
If you need a new vehicle and would like to make the process easier then The Cab Detective can help save you time and money. Give us a call on 01268 799541.