One or two individuals thought to be masterminding the Irish ghost broking operations
A clampdown on Irish ghost brokers could see hundreds of motor insurance policies cancelled.
The Irish police force carried out a widescale investigation into the practise, which the Irish Examiner reported could have led to 10,000 Irish drivers uninsured on the roads.
A man was due to appear in court today charged with theft and fraud offences, it was reported.
Ghost broking is a form of fraud where policies are sold to unwitting customers, either through forged documents, falsifying details to bring costs down, or taking out a genuine policy which is then cancelled soon after to claim the refund plus the customer’s money, according to the City of London Police.
Aviva told RTE that it has dealt with 1,000-1,500 such policies on its books in recent years.
RTE reported the Irish police as saying that the scams are being perpetuated by one or two people organising a larger network.
Victims often fall foul of ghost brokers because they are refused cover in the mainstream market, so are forced to look for more dubious means of obtaining insurance.
Commenting, detective chief Inspector Andy Fyfe, head of the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department commented: “Ghost broking is a serious offence and can have various negative effects, both in terms of facilitating wider crime and the harm it can cause to the general public.
“We’re aware that ghost brokers can operate in a variety of ways, which can include working individually or as part of bigger operations to help support organised crime groups.
“We would always advise the public to be wary of heavily discounted prices on the internet or cheap prices they’re offered directly for car insurance, as they may well be ghost brokers.
“While offers of cheap car insurance may be tempting, purchasing car insurance through a ghost broker will end up costing you far more in the long run – both in terms of money and your licence.”
The Insurance Fraud Bureau gives the following advice on how not to be caught up in a ghost broking scam:
- Checking the seller has a legitimate website, a UK phone number and address
- If buying through a broker, check they’re registered with British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA)
- If buying directly through an insurer, check they’re a member of Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB)
- Check your insurance advisor is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)