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Steer clear of fraud#SteerClearofFraud

Ghost broking

Ghost broking is the name given to a tactic used by fraudsters who sell fraudulent car insurance by a number of different methods.

They typically carry out the fraud by one of three ways: they will either forge insurance documents, falsify the your details to bring the price down or take out a genuine policy, before cancelling it soon after and claiming the refund plus the victim’s money.

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It is a legal obligation to have valid car insurance. If you buy from a fraudster, you risk:

  • Points on their driving licence
  • Having your vehicle seized and possibly destroyed
  • A fixed penalty notice
  • Being liable for claims costs if involved in an accident

This is on top of the money you will have lost buying the invalid car insurance and the money they will have to spend to then buy a legitimate insurance policy.

Our analysis into the ghost broking reports reveals that men, aged 20-29, are most likely to get targeted and that the most common method ghost brokers will use to make initial contact with people is through social media, particularly Facebook and Instagram. Other contact methods include adverts in newspapers and magazines, cold calls and being introduced, either directly or by friends, family members or work colleagues.

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#SteerClearOfFraud

On 17 September we launched a second phase of our original ghost broking campaign. New figures from Action Fraud revealed that 17-24 year olds are most likely to get targeted and this campaign was carried out to raise awareness among this age group and help reduce the number of those falling victim. We partnered with Merseyside Police to engage with students at universities in Liverpool, which involved attending various welcome events during Freshers Week. We also worked with fellow City of London Police officers to attend welcome events at universities in and around the City. Our ghost broking leaflets were also sent to all other police forces in England and Wales so that they could share them with students studying at the universities studying in their area.

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Avoid becoming a victim of ghost broking

  • Trust your instincts – if an offer looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Ghost brokers often advertise on student websites or money-saving forums, university notice boards and marketplace websites. They may also try to sell insurance policies in pubs, clubs or bars, newsagents and car repair shops.
  • Be wary of ghost brokers using only mobile phone or email as a way of contact. Ghost brokers have even been reported using messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook. Fraudsters don’t want to be traced after they’ve taken your money.
  • If you are not sure about the broker, check on the Financial Conduct Authority or the British Insurance Brokers’ Association website for a full list of all authorised insurance brokers: register.fca.org.uk  and biba.org.uk.
  • You can also contact the insurance company directly to verify the broker’s details.
  • You can check to see if your car is legitimately insured on the Motor Insurance Database website: ownvehicle.askmid.com.   

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