ONE of Scotland’s leading independent courier firms has issued a warning to motorists to be vigilant against a new series of insurance scams sweeping the UK.
Eagle Couriers says it has had to warn all of its staff against the frauds, which include con artists deliberately causing crashes with HGVs and vans, as well as stealing vehicles after flagging them down.
The move comes after the firm, which employs more than 100 people between Edinburgh and Glasgow, was alerted to the practices by industry officials. It also follows a number of high-profile cases that have been reported in England.
And Eagle Couriers has warned drivers in Scotland that it is only a matter of time before similar cases occur north of the Border.
In one of the scams, fraudsters are understood to drive in front of fast moving truck or van before braking heavily and causing it to smash into the back of their vehicle. They then submit a claim to their insurers, stating that the crash was caused by the driver who ran into them, and keep the money that is paid out.
The other scam involves con-artists who flag down goods vehicles by indicating that their tail lift has come unlocked. Once the drivers stop to check on the condition of their vehicle, they are attacked by the fraudsters, who then steal the goods vehicles and drive them away.
Jerry Stewart, one of Eagle Couriers’ directors, said: “In recent months, we’ve heard about more of these incidents taking place and it is only a matter of time before they are carried out in our area.
“We have warned all our staff about both of these scenarios so they can be vigilant against them and will be able to realise if a scam is about to be perpetrated against them. We regularly carry sensitive documents and information in our vehicles, so it is essential that our staff are informed and on their guard at all times to ensure the safe delivery of these materials.
“However, other drivers also need to be aware of these practices and ensure that they do not get targeted by these people. The con-artists tend to target goods vehicles to stage deliberate crashes against, as they are heavier and do not brake as quickly as a normal car, but they have also been known to target other big vehicles such as 4x4s and large family saloons.
“We recommend that drivers stay alert to these practices on the road and, if they are targeted by one of these gangs, to make sure that they do not take liability for the accident.
“Insurance companies are becoming wise to claimants who stage deliberate crashes, so it is vital that you not only take the number plate and details of the other drivers involved, but also write a detailed account of what happened.
“Also, if you are a goods vehicle driver, you must ensure that your tail lift warning lights are in working order so you know if the people waving at you to stop are genuine or not. You need to ensure that every precaution is taken to save you falling victim to these practices.”
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