The internet has become a haven for insurance fraudsters and the crime spree is likely to sky-rocket as more insurers move business online.

A survey by fraud specialist Absolute CM found that 75% of motor policy frauds were committed online.

And 96% of frauds involving contrived claims were cases where the policy was taken out online rather than through a broker.

Gabrielle Stewart, technical director of Absolute CM, said: “Internet fraud is becoming more common because it’s faceless. It’s the remoteness of the crime.”

She said it was difficult for someone to stand in front of a broker and directly lie about a policy, while the internet allows for a shield of anonymity.

There were two types of online fraudsters, she said.

Those who were traditionally law-abiding people who ‘fudged’ some of the details of their policies and those who were career criminals who take out a policy for illegal use.

Stewart said the crime spree was set to spike with the growth in online sales. “I don’t see it getting any better. It’s really up to us to get in there and keep up with the trends.

“As a society we’re more time-starved than ever before. Online policies numbers will increase, so exposure will increase.”

Online providers of insurance were becoming increasingly aware of the problem and more sophisticated in how fraud was tracked and monitored, she said.

The number of motor policies sold online is increasing. According to statistics provided by price comparison website, 15% of motor insurance policies were purchased online in 2006 – up 3% from 2005 and 7% from 2004.

Motor insurer Admiral Group said there were 3.5 million online car insurance sales for the period from November 2006 to October 2007.

Absolute looked at more than 300 motor fraud cases from nine insurers.

Absolute uses a computer data programme that can link similarities in suspicious policies such as matching names, addresses and mobile phone numbers, in order to stop a fraud.

Percentages of people who buy their motor insurance policies online

2001 2%
2003 3%
2004 9%
2005 13%
2006 19%