Fake insurance scam alert

Legal advice: Defence barrister Richard Wood.

Legal advice: Defence barrister Richard Wood. - Credit: supplied

Fake insurance scams are leaving motorists at risk, says defence barrister Richard Wood.

The latest scam to hit motorists has been revealed by police – the sale of fake car insurance policies.

To date, police have indicated that they have made up to 27 arrests in relation to an investigation into this type of fraud. Police have warned motorists to be vigilant and to check their insurance policies. Motorists are at risk of driving without insurance if it transpires there is no valid policy of insurance in place.

The process of selling, so-called 'ghost broking', often involves the use of a fake website set up to deceive a buyer, or adverts offering deals that are often too good to be true. Most at risk appear to be young motorists who are normally forced to pay a lot for genuine insurance so the offer of much cheaper insurance is irresistible. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Sometimes, young people who would normally pay up to £2,000 a year for insurance, can be offered a deal for as little as £700. It won't be until there is an accident, or a police stop, that the real situation becomes apparent.

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There have been a number of successful prosecutions, including a man who advertised insurance on the website Gumtree and another who set up four fake websites offering cheap deals for which a buyer had to call. This may only be the tip of the iceberg and is likely to be a UK-wide problem. Some fraudsters have approached potential buyers in restaurants, internet cafes and on university campuses.

Motorists can avoid being scammed by following buying advice from the Association of British Insurers or contacting the insurer's underwriter to check a policy is genuine.

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If you are found to have been driving without insurance you face a fine, points or a disqualification. If you have been genuinely misled into taking out a bogus policy you should report it to police at the time of the alleged offence of driving without insurance, and to then rely upon a 'special reasons' argument which, if successful, allows the magistrates to avoid points or a ban. We strongly advise obtaining good legal representation to investigate and argue this on your behalf.

If you need further advice contact Richard Wood at Keep Your Licence on 0800 707 6004 for free assistance.

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