5 Common Auto Insurance Scams (And How to Avoid Them)


The Forced Rear-ending

The most common (and dangerous) insurance claim is the staged rear-ending, also called a "crash for cash" or "swoop and squat." How it works: The scammer will slow down or come to a stop in busy traffic, or at an intersection or an on-ramp, or swoop in front of the victim, causing the driver to crash into them from behind. In almost every jurisdiction, rear-endings are considered the fault of the rear driver -- in this case, the victim of the scam. Adding to the potential insurance company payday: The con man may also claim to have neck or back pain, despite the accident's very low speed. This allows for both a collision and injury claim.

How to avoid this one: Never follow other cars too closely, allowing plenty of room to stop quickly. It's also a good idea to be aware of traffic ahead of the immediate car, so you can anticipate the need to slow down.