SINGAPORE: Amid increasing reports of fraudulent traffic accidents, the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) has warned that cases of motor insurance fraud are usually linked to large-scale crime syndicates.
Head of the insurance and specialised fraud branch, Superintendent of Police Abdul Rani Abdul Sani, said many are lured into getting involved without knowing the “severe” consequences they face.
The syndicates stage accidents and trick individuals into submitting fraudulent claims using their name. Ultimately, the costs of such claims will be borne by motorists in the form of higher insurance premiums.
“The public should know what’s happening so they don’t easily get conned into joining such activities,” Supt Rani added.
Here’s how you can fend off motor insurance fraud syndicates:
1. KNOW WHAT TO DO WHEN AN ACCIDENT HAPPENS
After getting into an accident, motorists should ensure their safety before taking photos of the accident and close-ups of the accident vehicles, CAD said.
Motorists should also note the particulars of drivers and injured persons, pay attention to passengers in other vehicles and quickly inform their insurer of the accident.
Furthermore, CAD added, they should avoid dealing with touts who might only be interested in making a quick buck from workshop referrals.
2. LOOK OUT FOR TELL-TALE SIGNS OF FRAUD
A spokesperson from the General Insurance Association (GIA) said immediate signs of fraud include staged multi-vehicle collisions, gross exaggeration of injuries and unusually large claims for simple accidents.
So the next time you see someone jamming the brakes for no apparent reason, causing a chain of rear-end collisions, there might be more to it than meets the eye.
3. USE DASHBOARD CAMERAS
These nifty cameras are widely available, with prices to suit every need and budget.
“An in-vehicle camera will also help because whatever is recorded is better than trying to explain what has happened,” Supt Rani said.
“So if it’s a staged accident and your camera can show that there’s nothing at the front to show that there’s a need for that person to jam-brake, it will help in terms of your claims.”
4. PLAY DEVIL’S ADVOCATE
Syndicates prey on individuals by asking them to submit a claim for an accident they were never involved in.
This seemingly innocuous request can come from auto mechanics, friends and even family.
“You should be questioning: ‘Why am I the one reporting if I am not the one at fault?’” Deputy Superintendent of Police Johnny Sim, team officer-in-charge, said.
“If there’s something suspicious, you should report it to the police instead of continuing with it.”
5. REPORT FRAUD USING THE RELEVANT CHANNELS
GIA has launched a hotline (1800–44–37283 or GI-FRAUD) where the public can report “suspicious fraud-related cases and evidence”, a spokesperson said.
Insurers have also set up their own special investigative units to detect and counter fraud, the association added on its website.
“Insurance companies will strenuously investigate any suspicious motor accident claims and will not hesitate to escalate the matter to the police.”