The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Scam Car Accidents and Signs You May Be Involved in One

Car accidents are a sad reality that we, unfortunately, have to deal with. More than 42,000 people died in car crashes in 2022, and even more were involved in non-fatal accidents. The sad truth, however, is that not every accident is an “accident.” Some are actually on purpose designed to scam you out of money.

But what exactly are scam car accidents, and what are the signs that you may be involved in one? This article will take you through the basics so that you don’t get scammed out of your car and your money as well.

What Is a Car Accident Scam?

Car accident scams, as their name suggests, are scams that are carried out for financial gain purposes. Very often, they involve someone deliberately crashing into you so that they can take advantage of you financially. In a car accident scam, they will either take money from you or make it so that your insurance company pays them off.

There are two ways in which someone can perform an insurance scam on you. The first is referred to as a “soft insurance scam,” where someone is trying to exaggerate a legit car accident. The second is called a “hard insurance scam,” which involves the other driver purposely staging the crash to get your insurance money.

Signs That You Were In a Scam Accident

Very often, when you are in a scam car accident, there will be a couple of signs that may suggest it was staged. Here are the main types of scam car accidents and the signs that you were involved in a scam car accident:

1. Sudden Break Slams

A very common car accident slam is the “swoop and squat,” a con that generally involves more than one scam car. One of the cars will “swoop,” and the other one will “squat.” In this scenario, the squat car will get in front of you, whereas the swoop car will get in front of you both. After that, the “swoop” car will suddenly hit the brakes.

The squat car will then hit the brakes too, giving you no reaction time. Once you hit the rear end of the squat car, the swoop car will make itself scarce. This is a very common type of staged accident because it will make it look like it was legitimate.

2. Waving You Through a Turn

This move is part of a scam called a “left turn drive down.” Essentially, you are waiting to turn left, and another driver on the opposite side signals you to take the turn. You take up their offer and begin making your turn, but suddenly, they pull right in front of you and block your path.

Before you can process what happened, another car appears and slams into the right side of your car. The first car, the one that waved to you, drives away and leaves you with the second car that hit you. With no witnesses to see what happened, they can claim that you did not give them the way and caused the accident.

This is a very common type of car scam in Georgia, especially in Atlanta. Unless you have a dashboard camera and a good Atlanta car accident lawyer, you may not be able to prove that the accident was not your fault. This is why authorities suggest the installation of a camera, to avoid a scam.

3. False Witnesses Appear

It usually takes some work to orchestrate a car crash, but some of them go right down the detail. This includes false witness scams. Picture this scenario: you are driving down a green light, following traffic rules, and minding your own business. Suddenly, someone passes a red light on your side and slams right into you.

It’s quite obvious that you were the innocent party, and that they’re the ones at fault for ramming their car into you. However, things change when witnesses appear, telling the same story: you’re the one that ran the red light. Unless you have some way to prove that the car accident was not your fault, it will be your word against many.

4. They Want to Avoid Intervention from the Police

There could be plenty of reasons why someone may want to avoid police involvement. They may not want their insurance rate, or they may just prefer to settle things privately. However, in some cases, it may be part of a scam.

If they want to avoid police involvement, it means they have something to hide. The police may be able to see through their story, and they know that. This is why you should keep your cool and wait for the police to arrive.

The Bottom Line

Scam accidents are an unfortunate truth that we need to be wary of. To keep yourself out of trouble, you should keep your distance, follow the rules, and invest in a dash camera. This can help protect you from sharks.

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