Car insurance scam targets Pembrokeshire addresses
Innocent Pembrokeshire residents are being drawn into an insurance scam because of unscrupulous ‘ghost brokers’.
The dodgy brokers set up fake websites, use social media or post classified advertisements offering cheap policies.
They do so because they misrepresent a driver’s personal details in a bid to secure lower payments and often use addresses in low-risk areas - such as Pembrokeshire.
Dozens of people living in Saundersfoot have been puzzled to receive letters from insurance companies using their address but different names.
One of the residents was BBC Wales reporter Rachel Treadaway-Williams, who launched her own investigation into the scam, which will be screened next Monday on the channel‘s consumer affairs programme, X-Ray.
“I asked around the village and found a number of people had received similar letters, all from different insurance companies,” she explained. “Some of them had just returned them to the sender, thinking they had been sent in error, but other people went ahead and opened them.
“One house had three different names recorded at its address.”
Rachel established that the ghost brokers - who are known to target young drivers, newcomers to the UK and those with little understanding of how car insurance works - purport to set up the policy but either do not pay or finance it with a credit card or bank details which have been stolen.
It is only when the person who believes they have bought the policy is involved in an accident or stopped by police that they realise they have been the victim of a scam.
Rachel’s investigation is being shown just a short time after a nationwide crackdown on a fake car insurance scam, which saw 27 people arrested in London, Manchester, the Thames Valley and the West Midlands.
“We want to make people aware that this type of fraudulent behaviour is going on,” she told the Western Telegraph. “It is really important that they don’t ignore any letters from insurance firms that are not addressed to them, and that they contact the insurers.
“The worry is what else these unscrupulous people are going to use our addresses for.
“The more awareness there is from the public, then the less chance they have of succeeding.”
Her advice has been backed up by Glen Marr, a former director of the Insurance Fraud Bureau, who now leads a fraud investigation team at 1st Central Insurance Management. He said: “The worst thing you can do is actually ignore the mail coming in, so the strong message is - please return the mail and make it quite clear to the insurers sending it that those people are not at the addresses.”
*X-Ray is on BBC1 Wales and on HD on Monday October 21 at 7.30pm.
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