New figures released from the City of London Police Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department reveals that 17-24 year olds are extremely susceptible to fraudsters selling fake car insurance known as ‘Ghost Brokers’.
The figures show that from November 2014 – July 2018, the majority of reports received by Action Fraud have come from 17-24 year old’s. Each individual lost an average of £912 and the combined total is believed to be around £164,000. 17-24 year olds are 26% more likely to fall victim to Ghost Broking compared to 25-34 year olds.
Why are young people being targeted?
Ghost Brokers is the term used to describe fraudsters who sell fake car insurance. They either forge car insurance documents, or falsify documents, to bring the price down. Fraudsters have also been found to have taken out genuine insurance policies, then quickly cancelling them and, claiming the refund plus the victim’s money.
Falling victim to this type of fraud can have a dramatic impact on a young person’s life, especially if they are pulled over by the police and found to be driving without valid insurance. This could end with them having a criminal record, which could stay with them for many years. It can also have a serious financial impact on young people who are more likely to have limited funds. It can also impact on their ability to get future car insurance and drive up the premiums further.
Offers of cheap car insurance can be very tempting for young people, who are classed in one of the highest priced car insurance premiums to begin with. Young people may also not yet have a complete understanding of the insurance industry and how to insure their vehicle legitimately. They are also being targeted directly on social media, a common source of information for young people.
Detective Superintendent Peter Ratcliffe of the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate, said:
“Falling victim to ghost broking can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, and this is especially the case for university students. It will impact them financially, at an important stage of their lives, and it could also affect their education and ability to travel.
“While offers of cheap car insurance may be tempting for students, purchasing car insurance through a ghost broker will end up costing you far more in the long run – both in terms of money and your licence.”
Detective Inspector Graeme Towndrow from Merseyside Police’s Economic Crime Team, said:
“Merseyside police are working with the City of London Police to promote awareness of ‘Ghost Brokers’. These fraudsters promise low premiums on policies such as car insurance and often target young people. We will be working with our communities, in particular the University’s within Liverpool to promote awareness. If you suspect a ghost broker or any fraud contact your local police force and report via Action Fraud.”
If you think you or a loved one may have been a victim of car insurance fraud, call Action Fraud immediately to report the crime and advise on what to do next.