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Drivers could be left 'out of pocket' by new click-to-call car insurance scam

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Experts at Vanarama have warned road users could fall foul of “click-to-call” scammers which manipulate search engines to catch out drivers. Scammers pay for their fake websites to appear higher up Google search results.

In a panic after an accident, drivers simply search their insurer’s details and click the call button without checking the number is the same as on the site.

These numbers will claim to represent the insurer and will proceed to ask for the driver’s personal details to “support” them with the claim.

According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) said these details are then often handed to claims management firms that work with “unscrupulous companies”.

According to the IFB, drivers then rack up “thousands of pounds worth of fees” despite drivers believing everything is already included in their cover.

READ MORE: Drivers could lose £599 in car insurance scams – how to avoid

Vanarama experts say ‘click-to-call’ scams can leave drivers “out of pocket” but can be avoided by taking one simple precaution.

They added: “The IFB, alongside the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department and the Association of British Insurers issued a warning to the public about click-to-call scammers taking advantage of motorists looking up their insurer’s details after an accident.

“Dodgy claims management companies are using search engine ad results to misrepresent insurers, hi-jack claims for referrals fees, and potentially leave road traffic victims out of pocket.

“Motorists should save their insurer’s claims number as a contact in their phone, so they don’t fall victim to click-to-call ads in the aftermath of an accident.

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“If motorists do end up having to search their details online, then they should always check the website address to ensure it is their insurer’s legitimate website.”

The IFB said there were over 300 reports of click-to-call scams in 2019.

However, it is believed many do not even realise they have been misdirected or scammed due to the sophistication of the technology.

The IFB urges drivers to always check the website and URL to determine it is a legitimate site before calling them.

He said: “The risk of this dishonest activity means that vulnerable members of the public can be left liable for significant credit hire charges (and other ancillary costs) if the claim is challenged.

“Unfortunately, we have seen examples where victims have been left seriously out of pocket as a result.

We’re determined to work alongside the insurance industry, regulators and Trading Standards partners to stop these firms and the impact of their activities on innocent policyholders.”



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