The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) teamed up with the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) to share intelligence on insurance policies associated with suspected ghost broking activity.
In a week-long trial operation, police databases flagged vehicles linked to alleged ghost brokers while officers stopped cars to check drivers unwittingly driving without valid insurance.
“Not only are fraudsters leaving their victims out of pocket when they take their money, they’re also leaving their victims potentially liable for tens of thousands of pounds if they are involved in a crash while uninsured,” said detective chief inspector Oliver Little, head of the insurance fraud enforcement.
“We’ve seen many victims who have had their car seized and given fines and points on their licence because they were stopped driving without valid insurance and had absolutely no idea,” he added.
In 2015, Action Fraud received 157 reports from victims of ghost brokers, with individual losses averaging £1,360 and a total amounting to more than £214,000.
However, IFED officers believe that the real number of ghost broking victims is much higher with many motorists driving on the roads completely unaware that their insurance policies are worthless.
Since 2012, IFED has carried out 86 investigations into suspected ghost brokers, with the total value of the frauds exceeding £11.5 million. In one investigation alone, officers identified over 600 victims of a single broker.
“Uninsured driving is a complex issue and in turn requires tackling in a number of ways. Application fraud, including ghost broking, means that people may be driving on our roads without valid insurance, putting both themselves and other road users at risk,” said IFB director Ben Fletcher.
The City of London Police operation coincided with a national crackdown on uninsured driving organised by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).
According to the MIB, authorities will seize around 3,000 vehicles per week this year and impose penalties on drivers as part of the government’s efforts to curb uninsured driving.
“It will see police operations mounted across many areas of the UK targeting potential uninsured drivers, including daily operations in the West Midlands and London where we know the problem is acute in some areas,” said detective superintendent Paul Keasey, the National Police Chiefs Council’s head of National Roads Policing Intelligence Forum.
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