NICB Releases Updated Staged Accident Videos
“Staged or deliberately caused accidents continue to be a problem across the country,” said Joe Wehrle, NICB president and CEO. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with the LAPD to make the public aware of these schemes and to let them know what to look for.”
Staged accidents are usually conducted by organized groups that target drivers and vehicles that are likely to be insured. The organizers frequently recruit participants who receive a cash payment to join in the scheme and to claim they were injured in the crash. The organizers then have the medical providers who are in on the scheme bill the auto insurance companies for medical treatments that may be unnecessary and which may or may not be completed.
“These staged accidents are not only illegal and costly, but they also present a real danger to innocent drivers and to those recruited to participate,” said Wehrle. “And without knowing what to look for, the innocent victims may not realize they were targeted. These videos help insurers, law enforcement and the driving public spot some of the most common types of staged accidents and may help them put a stop to the scheme before the criminals collect the cash.”
Los Angeles Police says they are seeing an increase in staged accidents on area freeways, where high speeds can have dangerous consequences. They are also seeing cases of people deliberately causing an accident in a car, on a bike or on foot. According to Detective Gary Guevara of the LAPD Commercial Crimes Division, they are extorting money from the targeted driver by demanding cash that they have on them, or forcing them to drive to a bank or ATM to withdraw cash to pay them.
“Los Angeles is not a good place to commit this kind of fraud,” Guevara said. “We have a dedicated police unit and a section of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office that specializes in prosecuting this kind of fraud and they take it very seriously.”
The videos were produced at the LAPD’s Emergency Vehicle Operations Center in Granada Hills, where officers receive specialized driver training.
The following videos illustrate four staged accident scenarios and are available to view:
Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll–free 800–TEL–NICB (800–835–6422), texting keyword “fraud” to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app on your iPhone or Android device.
About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation’s leading not–for–profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote $371 billion in insurance premiums in 2013, or more than 78 percent of the nation’s property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 93 percent ($168 billion) of the nation’s personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.