Desperate to keep one step ahead of the police and insurance industry, fraudsters and criminals have come up with a new scam, Flash for Cash, a variant on the so-called Crash for Cash sting that has been catching unwary motorists out for years.
Here’s what it is and, more importantly, how you can avoid falling prey to it.
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How does it work?
Criminals in a car will flash their headlights to let you out of a junction or petrol station forecourt.
When you acknowledge their kindness by joining the main carriageway they will deliberately drive into your car. They will then make a claim on your insurance policy for the damage caused to their car and for the (largely bogus) personal injury they will claim to have suffered.
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How to avoid becoming a target
It’s a clever scam because the subsequent insurance claim will come down to one driver’s word against another – and even if the insurance claim assessor believes you when you tell them that you were flashed out, it isn’t a defence: Rule 111 of the Highway Code states:
"Never assume that flashing headlights is a signal inviting you to proceed. Use your own judgement and proceed carefully."
So the only way to avoid falling prey is to ignore what may well be another motorist’s genuine act of kindness and to only enter the road when the way is clear. Sad, but true.
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If you fall victim to a scam
Our advice is to treat all accidents in the same way, something we covered here in an article about what to do if you have an accident.
In short, that means you should:
- Stop when it is safe to do so.
- Exchange details with the other driver.
- Never admit liability.
- Try to gather the name and address of any independent witnesses.
Of course, if you’ve fitted a dashcam then you’ve got the perfect witness, the mention of which might just deter a criminal from proceeding as they are notoriously camera shy…
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