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‘Opportunistic’ fraudsters the focus for City of London Police in nationwide clampdown

IFED targeted ‘opportunistic’ fraudsters in week long operation across England and Wales
20 were interviewed and eight were cautioned for their fraudulent claims
One woman claimed she’d tripped over a pothole but CCTV revealed it wasn’t the case
The total reserve held by the insurers on the fraudulent claims amounted to £261,540

‘Opportunistic’ fraudsters, such as those who make ‘slip and trip’ claims or exaggerate the value of item (s) lost or stolen, were the focus for the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) in a week long nationwide enforcement operation. 

A total of 27 people were targeted across England and Wales* between 5 November and 9 November 2018, all of whom IFED suspected had submitted a fraudulent claim to their insurer to try and make a financial gain.

This initial figure eventually rose to 32 after two interviews led to a further five suspects being identified by IFED officers.

20 were interviewed**, of which eight have been cautioned, while the other 12 denied the allegation and have been released under investigation***. The total value of the claims made by these people against the insurance industry amounts to £261,540****.

In one of the cases, a fraudster claimed that he’d been involved in a road traffic collision while on his motorcycle, which resulted in loss of earnings and required medical treatment. He would’ve received payment of £7,500, but CCTV showed that the man wasn’t in fact on his bike at the time and the claim was rejected. Officers also interviewed a woman who bought pet insurance just hours after her cat had undergone treatment for a broken tooth and then made a claim to try and get the insurer to cover the costs.

IFED received referrals involving these types of claims from 15 insurers, including Admiral, Ageas and Tesco Underwriting, Allianz, AXA, Direct Line Group (DLG), Esure, Hiscox, Lloyds Banking Group, Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB), NFU Mutual, QBE, RSA, CiSCOGlobal Solutions and W.R. Berkley Syndicate.

This follows a similar operation that IFED carried out in May 2018, which also targeted ‘opportunistic’ fraudsters. It included one man who was cautioned for submitting a fraudulent personal injury claim to his insurer stating that he’d been dragged along by a bus when he tried to get on. In reality, CCTV revealed his claim to be false and the man was seen getting on the next bus and sitting down, completely unharmed (*****Link to CCTV footage in notes to editors).

In 2019, IFED have three more week-long operations planned in order to continue to target opportunistic fraudsters and also other types of insurance fraud.

Detective Chief Inspector Craig Mullish, acting Head of the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, said:

“‘Opportunistic’ fraud is different to other types of insurance fraud, such as ‘crash for cash’ and ghost broking, in that often the claim made by the fraudster isn’t pre-mediated and hasn’t involved a high amount of planning.

“They see a chance to make a financial gain and go through with it, completely underestimating the severity of their dishonest actions and the impact it has on the cost of insurance premiums, which become higher for everyone.

“We’re confident that these week long operations will send a clear and forceful message to anyone who is thinking of making a fraudulent claim and deter them from doing so in the future.”

Anyone who knows or has suspicions of someone committing insurance fraud, even if it’s a family member or friend, to report it online or by phone to Action Fraud 0300 123 2040 or the Insurance Fraud Bureau’s Cheatline 0800 422 0421.

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