'Cash for crash' scams show no signs of abating, with insurer Aviva claiming that it detected more than 3,000 claims by 'cash for crash' gangs last year - which works out as one every three hours. The hotspot for fraudulent claims was Birmingham.
Birmingham has long-been the centre of the 'cash for crash' criminal fraternity in the UK, but it is becoming even more strikingly so. It accounted for one in five of all of these claims in 2014, and one in four in 2015. The top eight postcodes for the fraud are in Birmingham - and B11 is the worst overall.
Luton took second place in the league table last time, but has fallen to 8th in 2015. Meanwhile North London has moved from third to second place - and East London is a new entrant at number three.
1. Birmingham (1st last year)
2. North London (3rd last year)
3. East London (New entrant)
4. Leeds (5th last year)
5. Harrow (7th last year)
6. North West London (8th last year)
7. Bradford (9th last year)
8. Luton (2nd last year)
9. Coventry (New entrant)
10. Oldham (New entrant)
The cash for crash figures are alarmingly close to the record figures in 2014 - and only dropped 2% in 2015. It's responsible for a large chunk of the £58 million fraud criminals try to carry out with the company each year - and it says one in nine of the whiplash claims it sees are tainted by fraud.
Tom Gardiner, Head of Fraud, Aviva, said, "We remain very concerned that fraudsters continue to put their own greed ahead of innocent motorists' safety. Our figures show induced accidents now account for nearly half of all organised motor fraud we detect. Crash for cash does not just push up premiums for genuine customers, it puts innocent motorists at risk. It is also a significant drain on scarce public resources such as ambulance, police and A&E time, all of which are wasted on these entirely bogus claims. The number of whiplash claims is a problem unique to the UK and needs urgent reform."
What can you do?
In the long term, the measures announced in the Autumn Statement should help, as by removing compensation from minor, short-term injuries, it will mean that people cannot claim for whiplash.
In the interim, the insurer says it's vital to be on the look out for odd behaviour that may indicate someone is setting you up for this kind of fraud - especially when you are in those areas where cash for crash is known to be a problem.
To highlight the kinds of things these fraudsters will do, it has released a video of one of its policyholders, who was targeted by fraudsters in January 2014. He was driving a van, and was waiting at traffic lights in Luton. The car ahead of him reversed into him twice, then made an insurance claim - saying he suffered whiplash. The dashcam footage was used in court against him, and the fraudster pleaded guilty.