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Scam watch: ‘I was targeted after a car accident’

A member received scam calls following a minor road mishap – here’s how to avoid falling into the scammer’s trap.

A Which? member wrote to us when scammers targeted him following a road accident:

‘Several months ago I had a minor car accident. No one was hurt and damage to the other car was minimal, with none to mine.

‘A few days ago, I rejected a cold call and over the next few days there were two others, one of which my wife answered.

‘She was told that it concerned an accident that I’d had. A day or two later, I got a text that said: ‘Great news. We have £2,866.21 in your name for the accident you had, to put in your bank.”

Our advice

Calls promising compensation for car accidents are common nuisance calls. Most people who receive these haven’t been in a car crash, so it’s easier to dismiss the calls. But as you were involved in an accident, it’s good you recognised it as a scam.

The scammers will try to catch your interest with the large lump-sum payment, then lock you in with a seemingly easy claim process. This is just a ruse to get your personal information or your banking details.

No third-party insurance company would ever contact you about a car accident involving you or a member of your family, and you should always question any out-of-the-blue promises of money.

If you want to stop these calls, register your number with the free Telephone Preference Service (TPS), which logs your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls.

Have you received the car accident scam phone call? How did you deal with it?

allvision says:
8 July 2020

had a run in with a company called vehicle assistance insurance who said Direct Line had passed over my details for compensation, I have had 30 calls from this person in the last 6 months, I repeatedly asked for the company name and phone number as it comes up unknown on my phone. he called me a s**g, s**t, called my parents names, called me stupid and selfish, all because i asked him to prove it wasn’t a scam. he says he will ring tomorrow and continue to harass me. oh the fun. in the background i could hear other people trying to same pitch on other poor unsuspecting people who believe they will get £2000 at the end.

Janet Kiff says:
9 July 2020

When I was having a similar problem I eventually had to buy a BT call blocking telephone. I had to manually enter every contact I expected to hear from, which was boring, but reassuring whenever my telephone rang. I just let unrecognised calls go to answerphone. If I push the calls list button and the unrecognised number comes up, I add to the block list. They do give up eventually. This experience sounds the worst I have heard of though. People should be safe from this type of verbal abuse in their own home.

Anne Turner says:
14 September 2020

Had a phone call today from this company asked for details of the minor accident said I would get back to him later then checked out the company no way was this real he was so convincing 10 min later another call from same company different sales person trying it on

Nicole Basilio says:
6 January 2021

I had this last summer. I received a call from a lady saying that I had a accident before and I say yes but in portugal my home country. I never had deal with nothing about insurance, the only possible option is when I get here I had a broken foot from the accident and I had to go to the uk hospital. She ask me if I had any more accidents and I said no I don’t have uk driving licence. She ask me 3 or more time the same and the them the call was at 1 min exactly she ended the call.

John Clarke says:
20 January 2021

How are these companies getting our contact details?

After speaking to my insurer, apparently they disclose our contact details on the “National accident database”. Surely this is contravening the 2018 data protection act of sharing our details without consent?

Having small print in the policy stating that by accepting the policy gives them the right to share such details without my consent is illegal?

Holly says:
2 March 2022

I had 3 calls within 10 minutes of putting an advert on Gumtree. Coincidence?

Columb says:
5 March 2021

I was called by a Indian guy who pretend to be a agent,
HI start with you got involved in accident in the last 2 years and you can claim blablabla..
02012362578 this is the number.
On the end I made him kiss his spicy family and he close the conversation.

Sandra says:
21 March 2022

I receive these calls constantly and always block then but then they call back with a different number. Today I received a call from company called Motor Assist with music blaring in the background. I tried to stop him going into his speel so I could tell him Ive never been in a car accident but couldnt get a word in. I eventually asked him what the music was in the background and he told me “have you never searched google for working at home” !!! I told him its completely unprofessional for a business to call someone with music blaring in the background. He then wouldnt let me speak just kept talking over me about music makes for a happy working life and then hung up. I work from home, have music on in the background but switch it off when im talking to customers. Have blocked the number again but will try the telephone preference to see if that stops them. I totally sympathise with that making cold calls is not anyones career choice but it makes my blood boil

Hi Sandra, the most effective way to stop these calls is by reporting the calling number/s to the ICO. Reports can be made online and it’s relatively quick to do so.

Search for ICO (Information Commissioners Office), on the ICO website, select ‘Make a Complaint’ from the navigation bar along the top of the page and select spam texts and nuisance calls. Be sure to select ‘Sales call from a real person (live call)’ and then complete the report entering the calling number and other information as required.