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Was that car crash staged?

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Friday, June 6, 2014
Posted: 12 pm ET

Staged and deliberately caused car accidents are a nationwide problem, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, or NICB, and they've released videos showing the most common ways these car crashes are created.

Working in cooperation with the Los Angeles Police Department, the NICB produced a series of high-definition videos in an effort to increase public awareness of these crimes which defraud insurance companies. "Without knowing what to look for, the innocent victims may not realize they were targeted," said Joe Wehrle, NICB president and CEO.

These four videos from the NCIB illustrate some popular staged car accidents. Watch these videos to see how these work as car insurance scams.

Staged car accidents are usually organized by groups who recruit participants who are paid in cash to participate in the scheme and claim they were injured in the crash. Medical providers also are recruited to be in on the scheme to bill auto insurance companies for unnecessary medical treatments that may not even be performed.

"These staged accidents are not only illegal and costly, but they also present a real danger to innocent drivers and to those recruited to participate," Wehrle said. While these deliberately caused car accidents are occurring across the country, the LAPD noted they are increasingly occurring on freeways where high speeds can be very dangerous as well as with these criminals demanding cash from the targeted driver with the money they have on them or by forcing them to drive to a bank or ATM.

Be prepared for a fender bender. Read What to do after a car accident.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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June 15, 2014 at 1:18 am

Use your phone as a weapon. If you suspect you are in danger or someone is driving crazy. Try to record it or take a picture of the vehicle. If the vehicles that are in a scam see that you may be taking video or pictures they will think twice. Just be careful that if you have to do this that you don't get mistaken by police as TEXTING and DRIVING or being on the cell phone. I used this technique several times where drivers were in a road rage state all because I'm trying to simply obey the law and go the speed limit. I would rather get a ticket for mistakingly texting or on the cell phone when I really wasn't then being in a life threatening situation. If someone is driving like a jerk I just pull out the cell phone and get ready. Scamers BEWARE! you are LOSERS!

June 14, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Pretty easy to tell from these two commentees who is telling the truth!

Be careful out there. Drive safely and yes, watch for scammers, they are out there......

June 14, 2014 at 6:39 pm

this article is insurance propaganda. they should write a story about how insurance companies routinely lo ball injuried people, for the sake of corporate profit.

rmorse, you were at fault. don't try to claim any BS about the cop and the other person knowing each other or that your accident was some kind of staged accident. You were backing and did not see another car. you side and rear view mirrors do not reflect sideways. get over it. if it was the other way around you would be belyaching that now you have to take your car to the shop to get repaired. again, get over it.

To all you insurance adjusters out there, you work for the devil and the devil rapes poor injured people every day.
June 14, 2014 at 11:57 am

In 2009, I was backing out of a parking lot. I had backed out only about 3-4 feet, including the sidewalk, no vehicle was seen in my rear mirror, or side mirrors, so I slowly started to turn my car to get into the street when I heard my car bump another vechicle. Looking in my rear view mirror, I saw a blue van, got out of my car and there was the blue van, with several dents and rust spots. The van was also over the middle line and on my side of the street. I looked at his car and there was a smudge which he claims I hit. Across the street were men working and a police officer talking with them. He came over I went to touch the smudge to see if it was a dent and the officer told me not to touch it but get into my car and park up the street. I told him I wanted to see if there was a dent, but he told me to get into my car now. He told the other driver to pull into the end of the parking lot where they conversed for some time. The officer came back and handed me a form telling me to go to the police station and get an accident report. I was suspicious because it seemed as though the driver and officer knew each other, but was not ready to confront him as he intimidated me. I received notice from my insurance company that this tiny smudge, perhaps 3 inches in diameter was to cost $1400.00, so I was given a sur charge on my insurance policy. I received notice that I could go to the registry in Boston to reverse it, but I could not do so as I had had my hip replaced shortly before and do not drive into Boston, and knew I was unable to take the train so wrote them a letter which was an option.
They took the info from the police report and the owner of the vechicle against me.
I have always been suspicious about this accident because of the fact that I had no chance to tell the officer my side and the fact that the van was so much over on my side of the road. I realized later, that I should have reported my feelings to the police station and insurance company, but did not and am still paying off this sur charge.