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Tips for Spotting Scam Artists if You Are Involved in a Staged Car Accident!

Often, our elected officials endlessly blather on about nothing – sort of their own “Seinfeld moment”.

Recently, our State’s Insurance Commissioner issued a news release (one of many that are issued constantly) regarding scam artists that fake a traffic accident in order t collect from . . . . YOU!

Here is the nuts & bolts of his comments, taken directly from his press release:

Last year 59.5 percent of all insurance fraud referrals received by the California Department of Insurance were for suspected automobile insurance fraud. In Los Angeles County alone, the Department of Insurance received over 7,700 suspected auto fraud claims.

The most common scheme typically used in a staged collision is the swoop-and-squat. This scheme involves two vehicles working together to box in a target vehicle and forcing a collision.

These staged crashes are most often perpetrated by organized crime. Stagers target high value vehicles such as commercial vehicles, expensive luxury vehicles, and vehicles owned by cities or counties. These vehicles are targeted because there is a virtual guarantee of insurance coverage.

. . . . . "Los Angeles County has the dubious distinction of being the state's epicenter for auto insurance fraud," District Attorney Lacey said. "The impact of that fraud on working families in Los Angeles County is real and substantial . . . . . . These wrecks are costly not only in terms of financial loss but also may have the unintended consequence of injuring or killing innocent motorists on our streets and highways."

If you suspect you are the victim of a staged collision, insist on a police report and document as much information about the collision as possible. Use your cell phone to document the post-collision damage with photographs or video, and ask the peace officer to positively identify everyone involved, report the suspicious collision to the California Department of Insurance by calling 800-927-HELP (4357) or visit our web site at . . . . .

Here are some tidbits for recognizing a staged accident:

After a collision look for these following red-flags of fraudulent activity:
  • The other car is packed with passengers.
  • The other driver has a relatively new insurance policy.
  • The other car is in poor condition or has a "salvage" title.
  • Traffic was flowing smoothly and the other driver stopped suddenly.
  • The other driver and/or the passengers make extra effort to avoid conversation about the other vehicles in the area.
  • There is a witness that substantiates everything the other driver says.
  • The other driver and his passengers all claim injury despite relatively minor collision damage to the vehicles.

Drive Safely, and with this information on what to spot, hopefully you’ll feel a greater degree of security knowing that you can spot staged accidents!

Insuring Your Success!


Stan Dreckman


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