The National Crime Insurance Bureau says it has seen a 40 percent jump since 2007 in the number of stage automobile accidents, wrecks that were committed simply to rip off the insurance companies. (Oklahoma City has seen a couple of such rings operating there.) Some cases only involve people who signed up for the fraud, but there are some that target innocent motorists. Here are some tips for protecting yourself, courtesy of the bureau:
- Avoid tailgating to ensure there’s plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you in case they suddenly hit the brakes.
- Even if damage is minimal, call the police to an accident scene and obtain a police report with the officer’s name. This makes it harder for the criminal to intentionally damage the car later and try to collect a larger claim against your insurance policy.
- Use your cell phone camera or carry a disposable camera in your car to document any damage and take photos to verify the number of passengers in other vehicles.