October 27, 2016

If you had £11.5 million, what would you do with it? A superyacht, perhaps? A couple of tonnes of truffles? A half-share in a Trident missile? Basically, you’re spoilt for choice.

But let’s say you weren’t you, but instead you were the Great British insurance buying public. Might you then, just for argument’s sake, if you were, be tempted to spend that £11.5 million on bogus insurance policies?

Actually, you would. And in fact you already have. And if that’s not what you were thinking, then maybe you’re just not very good at imagining hypothetical sorts of things.

Because according to a report in Bankstone News’ new favourite industry journal, Body Shoppe Magazine, City-based anti-fraud hotshots the FEDs reckon ghost brokers have sold unwitting punters hundreds of bogus policies worth “in excess of £11.5 since 2012”.

And, in case you think they mean eleven pounds and fifty pence, Bankstone News is pretty to sure they don’t. Firstly because £11.50 would scarcely buy you one bogus policy, let alone hundreds, and secondly because BS Magazine is notoriously parsimonious with its ‘m’s.

In the past year alone, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre Active Fraud has received 157 reports from people, known as victims, who’ve lost money as a result of buying bogus insurance policies.

But the FEDs reckon there’s loads more fake policies out there simply not coming to light. To highlight this issue, the cops have declared a national week of action and are going to be ANPRing all and sundry and pulling over anyone linked to dodgy insurance vendors.

“This week’s operational activity demonstrates the lengths that the insurance industry will go to protect honest motorists,” says Ben Felcher of the Insurance Fraud Bureau, who are working with the FEDs on this exciting initiative.

If it means a few more of the victims who’ve been driving around without legit insurance can be brought to book (and ideally have their vehicles seized, get fined and be given some points on their licence – not just let off with some kind of namby pamby caution) then, so much the better!

Ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the lawn. If they can’t tell a ghost broker from a real one, then they need their eyes tested. In which case, they probably shouldn’t be driving in the first place. And even if they are partly blind, they could always ask someone sighted to check the FCA website for them, which has a list of proper decent legitimate brokers.

Or they could “contact the insurer directly to validate a policy,” suggests Ben. Oh that’s right Mr Felcher let’s cut out the middleman, shall we! I don’t bloomin’ well think so, Matey!

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