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Hit & Run Car Scams

Four Hit And Run Car Scams

Hit and run car scams can be very lucrative for criminals. How can you tell if you're involved in one? When your vehicle has been hit, you're anxious, scared and possibly injured. You may not be thinking clearly and just want to get the necessary insurance information from the other party and start the claim process.

You certainly will need to do this, but what if you've been hit because of a scam? Here are four types of auto accident fraud that are common, and that you should be aware of.

Motioned Into Traffic And Hit By A Motorist

One common hit and run car scam is this: you're trying to merge into traffic. A nice motorist waves her arm, letting you know to move forward into the merge. As you do so, that driver suddenly accelerates and crashes into you. During the accident investigation, the other party denies letting you merge into traffic.

A variation on this is if you are trying to make a left turn and a driver appears to be ready to let you make that turn. As you do so, the criminal drives into you. During the accident investigation, you are charged with a traffic violation, because drivers making left turns without a green arrow have to yield to the oncoming traffic.

This type of accident fraud is also known as a "drive down."

Panicky Braking Rear End Accident Scam

An insurance scammer will drive an older car with several people in the vehicle, including at least one or two in the back seat. The driver will pull out into the lane next to your car, pass by you, and get back into your lane in front of you. The rear passenger will watch your driving behavior and wait to see if you get distracted while driving. If so, the rear passenger tells the driver to quickly hit the brakes. In this scenario, the driver behind the scammer often rear ends the car. Your insurance provider has to pay to repair the scammer's vehicle, and if anyone in the car claims an injury, your auto insurance provider must also pay medical expenses.

This is called the "panic stop" car accident scam.

The Side Swipe Accident Fraud

In this scenario, if there are two left turn lanes, and you are in the far left (innermost) lane, the car accident scammer pulls up next to you in the outermost left turn lane. When the left turn light goes green and you accelerate through the turn, the accident scammer turns too close to you and sideswipes your vehicle's right side.

Two Swoop And Squat Accident Scam Scenarios

These are highly orchestrated car crash scams. In the first one, if you are driving on a city street, the scammers are in two cars. One pulls in front of you after passing by your car. This is called the "squat" car. The second scammer car (called the "swoop" vehicle) pulls abruptly in front of the "squat" vehicle, which has to brake quickly. If you hit the "squat" vehicle, you may well be at fault. In the meantime, the "swoop" vehicle quickly leaves the scene.

hit and run car scams

The second version of this accident is on an interstate highway. Three scam vehicles take part in this. The first two vehicles behave as described above, while the third vehicle drives at your speed in the lane next to you. Once you hit the vehicle ahead of you, the other two race away. You most likely will be found at fault, and your insurance company has to pay for damages and any incurred medical expenses.

How To Avoid And Recognize Hit And Run Car Scams

There are several things that will give away the car scam if you are ever involved in one.

  • First, avoid tailgating as much as possible. If a vehicle pulls in front of you and slows down, do the same and maintain a safe distance.
  • Next, if you are involved in any auto accident, call the local police to file an accident report.
  • Use your cell phone camera to take pictures of the damage, the other car's license plate and any other accident scene items you think will help your insurance company.

Be suspicious of a hit and run accident scam if any of the following occur after your accident:

  • People who immediately show up at the accident scene with doctors and/or attorneys they claim can help you
  • Any medical professional who wants you to file a personal injury claim, even if you have no injuries stemming from the accident
  • Tow trucks that miraculously appear on the accident scene without having been requested or dispatched by you or other accident victims

Finally, if you think you are the victim of an auto accident scam, call the Anastopoulo Law firm at 800-313-2546 to see if you are entitled to compensation.

Image courtesy of Needpix

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