A fraudster has been jailed after a simple Facebook search revealed that he'd lied about crashing his fake Ferrari to make an insurance claim.
Adam Islam, of Barking in Essex, was driving a Toyota MR2, which was dressed up with a body-kit to look like a Ferrari F430, when he crashed into his friend's hired Audi A1 in September 2014.
Cash for crash hotspots revealed
But, knowing that the pair's reckless driving would invalidate their insurance, 29-year-old Islam claimed that his fake Ferrari had broken down and been rear-ended by the Audi instead. He said he'd never met the driver, 27-year-old Mohammed Abu Khayer, before.
As the Audi was insured by the hire company, the two men hoped to split the £29,000 insurance payout.
However, the plan was quickly foiled when investigators from motor fraud firm Asset Protection Unit (APU) found photos on social media showing the two men together - along with a failed attempt by Islam to sell the car for £30,000 shortly before.
Islam has now been sentenced to 18 months in jail at Snaresbrook Crown Court, with Khayer getting a suspended two-year sentence.
"Almost immediately after the crash, you both launched into a sophisticated fraud," judge HHJ Dawson told the pair.
"This is not a victimless crime; we all end up paying more for car insurance. It also undermines the trust from insurance companies in the public, which causes delay in genuine payments. More fraud makes it more difficult for honest people to be paid."
Crash-for-cash scam men to be sentenced
In 2015, according to Aviva, a 'cash for crash' scam took place every three hours on Britain's roads - and it's becoming big business. In one case, two years ago, two men attempted to defraud insurers out of around £5.6 million by setting up a claims management company, Herald Claims Limited, to file fraudulent or inflated claims after a crash.
And, last year, a gang of 19 men and women were convicted of engineering 300 accidents to make £1.1 million in fake insurance claims.
Scamwatch: whiplash fraud
And according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), fraud adds a whopping £50 to the annual insurance bill for every UK policyholder.
But, says James Dalton, ABI's director of general insurance policy, "Fraudsters are now more likely to get caught than ever and will face long-lasting and serious consequences, including a criminal record, a custodial sentence and difficulty in obtaining financial products, such as mortgages and loans."