Protect Yourself from Auto Insurance Scams – GEICO

Are you likely to become a victim of an auto insurance scam one day? Very likely, and because those scams are perpetrated regularly on unassuming drivers, GEICO has recommendations that could help prevent you from becoming one of those victims.

Scams or insurance fraud schemes are committed by criminals every day and can happen anytime during the claims process. One of the most common auto insurance scams involves staged accidents. Staged accidents will typically involve multiple vehicles and several people in various scenarios.

In part one of the classic “swoop and squat” staged accident, the criminals use a primary vehicle and a blocker vehicle. The primary vehicle swoops in front of the victim car and slams on the brakes, hoping to cause a rear-end collision. The blocker vehicle travels alongside the victim’s vehicle to prevent the victim from swerving to avoid the crash. In part two, during the confusion directly after the accident, multiple people are likely to appear and disappear from the scene and make false injury claims, adding to the overall cost of the claim.

“If you suspect you’re being scammed, contact the police or your insurance company,” said Douglas Shiring, director of GEICO’s special investigation unit. “And knowing a few ways to protect yourself could help you avoid a potential auto insurance scam.”

Shiring recommends:

  • Call the police to the scene – Beware of anyone who is anxious to leave quickly before police arrive.
  • Document with photos – Take photos of all the vehicles involved and the accident scene, license plate numbers, witness information and any other facts you think might be important.
  • Beware of unsolicited tows – Be wary of tow trucks that arrive on the scene without anyone having called for the service. GEICO has a local tow provider list to assist policyholders.
  • Do not tailgate – Criminals will brake unexpectedly to cause an accident. Look out for vehicles that brake suddenly for no apparent reason.
  • Count parties involved – Note the number of occupants in each involved vehicle. The number of claimed injuries may increase from the actual number of people involved.
  • Beware of fake injury claims – Be cautious of physicians who insist you file a personal injury claim after an accident, especially if you are not hurt. He added, “In fact, be aware of any service providers and professionals that seem to appear out of nowhere and suggest medical and legal services.”