6 tips for avoiding a staged car accident

Avoiding a staged accident

Here are six tips from the NICB on how to avoid becoming a victim of a staged accident:

  • Avoid tailgating. Recognize the "swoop and squat" scenario in which a driver suddenly swoops in front of you then slams on his or her brakes, and leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you just in case the driver slams on his brakes.
  • Call the cops even if damage is minimal. A police report makes it harder for a stager to intentionally damage his or her car later in order to collect a larger claim against your car insurance company.
  • Grab a camera or use your cell phone to photograph everything and everyone at the scene. Pay special attention to the number of people in the other car and the damage to both cars.
  • Be wary of passers-by who just happen to arrive on the scene, especially if they offer to direct you to a doctor, lawyer or tow-truck company. They may be part of the scam.
  • Steer clear of tow-truck drivers that you did not summon. They are often part of this car insurance scam.
  • Be wary of doctors who insist that you file a personal injury claim following an accident, especially if you are not hurt.

If you suspect that you've been a victim of or witness to a staged accident, you can report it anonymously through the NICB website, or by calling the toll-free number (800)835-6422 or by texting your information to TIP411, keyword "FRAUD."

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