Ghost broking is the name given to a method used by fraudsters to sell fraudulent car insurance by a number of different methods.
They carry out the fraud in one of three ways: they will either use fake insurance documents, falsify the your details to bring the price down or take out a genuine policy, before cancelling it soon afterwards and claiming the refund plus the victim’s money.
It is a legal obligation to have valid car insurance. If you buy from a fraudster, you risk:
- Points on their driving licence
- Having your vehicle seized and possibly destroyed
- A fixed penalty notice
- Being liable for claims costs if involved in an accident
This is on top of the money you will have lost buying the invalid car insurance and the money they will have to spend to then buy a legitimate insurance policy.
Police analysis into ghost broking reveals that men, aged 20-29, are most likely to get targeted and that the most common method ghost brokers will use to make initial contact with people is through social media, particularly Facebook and Instagram. Other contact methods include adverts in newspapers and magazines, cold calls and being introduced, either directly or by friends, family members or work colleagues.
Avoid becoming a victim of ghost broking
- Trust your instincts – if an offer looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
- Ghost brokers often advertise on student websites or money-saving forums, university notice boards and marketplace websites. They may also try to sell insurance policies in pubs, clubs or bars, newsagents and car repair shops.
- Be wary of ghost brokers using only mobile phone or email as a way of contact. Ghost brokers have even been reported using messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook. Fraudsters don’t want to be traced after they’ve taken your money.
- If you are not sure about the broker, check on the Financial Conduct Authority or the British Insurance Brokers’ Association website for a full list of all authorised insurance brokers at https://register.fca.org.uk/ and https://www.biba.org.uk/.
- You can also contact the insurance company directly to verify the broker’s details.
- You can check to see if your car is legitimately insured on the Motor Insurance Database website at https://ownvehicle.askmid.com/.