In either scenario, the innocent driver rear-ends the fraudster's vehicle and could end up being seriously hurt. At the very least, the innocent driver will be handed a traffic ticket and deemed at fault, according to the common traffic rules. Depending on the person's previous driving record, this could mean higher insurance rates when the policy is renewed. Meanwhile, the fraudster and his or her passengers — and there's usually three or four in the vehicle — all claim for unnecessary and expensive health treatments.
According to Ken Lindhardsen, vice-president of Claims for Desjardins General Insurance Group, staged collisions like the scenarios described above are a large component of this type of fraud. Criminals can stage collisions in many different ways and a single event can result in tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent claims. “These activities not only put innocent people in jeopardy, but also result in increased costs to every driver with an insurance policy,” says Lindhardsen. "Addressing fraud has gone way beyond protecting the financial interests of our clients. Now that staged collisions are so widespread we feel we also have a responsibility to raise awareness about the physical harm this activity can cause.”
According to Lindhardsen, the more people know about these types of frauds, the more alert they'll be and hopefully avoid distractions that can make them a target. For more information about staged collisions and how you can avoid being a victim, visit Desjardins General Insurance at www.dgidirect.ca.