Insurance fraudsters accused of targeting NHS staff with online scam

Key workers have been warned to be on the lookout for fraudulent insurance deals after a man was accused of deliberately targeting NHS staff as part of an alleged car insurance scam.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) and City of London Police have urged key workers to be wary of online deals offering significantly discounted cover, warning that victims could be left significantly out of pocket.

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Last week a London man was arrested on suspicion of operating a ghost broking scheme and accused of offering discounts on the fraudulent scheme to NHS workers via social media.

Ghost brokers often operate on social media, claiming to represent legitimate insurers but offering far cheaper deals than mainstream providers or comparison sites. They then either sell a fake policy, take out a policy using fake details or use legitimate details but then cancel the policy and claim the refunded payment.

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Previously, the IFB has warned that scammers are targeting vulnerable drivers who struggle to get affordable insurance through mainstream providers.

In the latest case, following a tip-off from the IFB, a 25-year-old man was arrested by City of London Police on suspicion of advertising fraudulent car insurance services via social media whilst unregulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Police also said he was suspected of offering the same to NHS workers.

Detective Chief Inspector Edelle Michaels, head of the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), said: “Fraudsters have no qualms in using national tragedies, including COVID-19, to try and exploit innocent members of the public and in this targeting even members of our NHS and so it is vital that people remain wary. We are determined to continue operational activity to target suspected insurance criminals and protect the public.

“We would always encourage drivers to be wary of heavily discounted prices they see online, such as social media. Whilst cheap offers may be tempting, purchasing car insurance through a ghost broker will end up costing you far more in the long run – both financially and in points on your licence.”

Stephen Dalton, head of intelligence and investigations at the IFB commented: “We’re pleased to have made positive progress alongside our enforcement partners at City of London Police’s IFED.

“Ghost broking has far reaching consequences for innocent victims – not only does it leave people out of pocket, but it means they’re driving without valid insurance and could have their car seized which is the last thing people need – especially key workers - during these challenging times. If anyone has seen suspicious car insurance deals being advertised online, they should make us aware by reporting it to our confidential Cheatline service at www.insurancefraudbureau.org or 0800 422 0421.”