There seems to be a whole mess of four-wheeler drivers who are involved in accidents with big rigs because no one ever taught them not to cut off a tractor-trailer traveling at 55mph when they’re only doing 35 from the on-ramp. Their mental prowess definitely leaves something to be desired, but their lack of intelligence doesn’t even come close to matching the brain-dead group of people who have been cutting off commercial trucks to get in accidents on purpose.
You might think that no one could possibly be that stupid, but that’s exactly what over 100 drivers in the Las Vegas area alone have done over the past year. According to a new report issued by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), they’re doing it to try and cash in on the insurance claims.
Scams like this have been around for a long time, but only recently have they started targeting large trucks. The scam only works if the victim has a good insurance plan which large fleets almost always have. The scammers also like targeting trucks because large companies usually won’t bother challenging the claim where a private citizen might fight the claim and go to court.
This scam is being considered a major problem by the NICB, not just because of the fraudulent insurance claims being paid out, but also because the tactic is incredibly dangerous; not just to the scammer, but to the truck driver and to all of the other cars sharing the road.
The scammers are actually taking it even further in a step that takes the scam from stupid, selfish, and dangerous to downright despicable. They’re filling their cars with unwilling and unknowing passengers. They will often pick up day laborers and tell them that they are driving them to a job site. The workers, who have no idea what’s going on, are there to increase the amount that the scammer can claim in damages from the insurance company. After the accident, they are sent home and the scammer will claim to be filing damages on their behalf, but when the check comes they keep all of the money for themselves.
You can protect yourself from being the victim of scams like these by practicing safe driving habits and following these steps:
- Install a forward-facing traffic-cam from as high a vantage point as possible. This way it can never be just your word against theirs; it provides irrefutable proof of what actually happened.
- Take down the name, ID, and contact information for everyone riding in the car, not just the driver. Sometimes a driver will claim there were additional people in the car to increase the payout.
- Check both the front and back license plates, write them both down and make sure they’re the same.
- Take pictures of your vehicle, yourself, the other vehicle, and the occupants of the car. Make sure to document exactly what damage was caused by you and what damage was pre-existing.
- Always call a police officer to the scene, even when there is only minor damage. Having someone there who can file an official report for what damage was caused in the accident will prevent scammers from claiming serious injury or damage later on.
- Be wary of any medical or legal service providers who contact you about the crash without you reaching out to them first. Some scammers use this tactic to get your personal information.
- Call the National Insurance Crime Bureau if you suspect a scam at 1-800-835-6422 (24 hours a day, seven days a week). Give license plate number, location of the accident, people involved, why you think this was a fraud, and as many other details as possible.