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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