The nationwide operation came after 22 people made claims to more than 10 different companies, including Allianz, Zurich and LV=
The City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) has today announced details of a nationwide crackdown on opportunistic fraudsters.
22 people were targeted in the operation designed to target ’opportunistic fraud’.
In one of the cases, a woman admitted to lying about being in a taxi when it was involved in a collision. The taxi driver contradicted her claim and said she wasn’t in the vehicle at the time and was actually their customer waiting for the taxi.
IFED detectives also interviewed a woman who made a false claim worth £6,500 for a gold diamond ring, after she claimed it had been lost or stolen when she took it off to clean her hands in a public toilet. However, routine enquiries made by the insurer revealed she’d made the same claim, for the same ring, three years earlier.
In total, 15 people have been interviewed by police across the country. Four others are due to be interviewed in the next few days, while the final three of the 22 were not at their address when officers visited but will be interviewed.
Of the 15 who have already been interviewed, eight have been cautioned, and the remaining seven have been released under investigation.
In total, the attempted claims made by these people against the insurance industry is £165,110.
The operation started after IFED received referrals from more than 10 insurance companies such as Admiral, Allianz, Aviva, LV= and Zurich.
IFED has said that ”officers will continue their investigations into the active cases and further details on their progress will be provided in due course”.
Not a victimless crime
Detective chief inspector Andy Fyfe, head of IFED said: “’Opportunistic fraud’ is not a victimless crime and these kind of fake claims are felt by everyone. Through these days of action, we want to clampdown on this type fraud and hammer home to fraudsters, or indeed anyone thinking of making a false claim, that IFED and the insurance industry won’t tolerate it.
“Be in no doubt: if you make a fraudulent claim, we will investigate and you could end up with a criminal record, or even face time behind bars. On top of this, you’ll also face difficulty accessing financial products in the future, such as credit cards.
“These kinds of claims create a ‘compensation culture’ in the UK, with some claims management companies encouraging people to make frivolous and exaggerated claims, often with the alluring offer of a ‘no win, no fee’ service.
“These types of referrals show that some people have no qualms about making false claims. However, the vast majority of people are honest about their insurance claims and it must be infuriating to have to suffer financially as the result of someone else’s criminality and greed.”
James Dalton, director of general insurance policy for the ABI said: “There can be no let-up in the fight against insurance fraudsters, who push up the cost of insurance for the honest majority. From fraudulent whiplash style claims encouraged by some claims management firms to inflated losses, never have the chances of getting caught been so great or the penalties so severe.
”Being caught could not only lead to a criminal record but also difficulties in getting future insurance and other financial products, like loans and mortgages. Initiatives like this send out a stark warning – there is no hiding place for cheats”.
Ben Fletcher, director of the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), commented: “Insurance fraud is a serious crime, whether it is opportunistic or organised, and it is often honest premium paying consumers who suffer as a result. It is essential that we continue to educate and raise awareness about the serious repercussions of this type of dishonesty in order to deter fraud at the earliest stage possible.
“Reports from the general public are an essential element in the fight against fraud and IFB’s Cheatline saw nearly a 5% increase in reports in 2017 in comparison to 2016.
”We hope that continued awareness of the issue, through initiatives such as IFED’s Day of Action, will mean that fighting insurance fraud remains high on the agenda for both the industry and the general public.”