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17-24 year olds most likely to fall victim to motor ‘ghost broking’

September 17th 2018

New figures from the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) have revealed that 17-24 year olds are most likely* to fall victim to fraudsters selling fake care insurance, also known as ‘ghost brokers’.   

   - IFED launches second phase of #SteerClearOfFraud campaign to raise awareness among this age group, including university students

   - Reported losses for 17-24 year olds total £164,993, with individuals losing on average £912

From November 2014 – July 2018, the majority of reports received by Action Fraud have come from victims aged 17-24**. The reported losses for these victims total £164, 993, with each individual losing on average £912. Figures show that 17-24 year olds are 26% more likely to fall victim to ghost broking compared to 25-34 year olds and 197% more likely compared to 35-44 year olds***. On top of this, the figures reveal that 17-24 year olds have lost £47,935 more to ghost brokers compared to 25-34 year olds and £128,743 more compared to 35-44 year olds.

Ghost broking is the name given to a tactic used by fraudsters who sell fraudulent car insurance by a number of different methods. Further information about this type of fraud, including the various consequences and advice on how to spot the signs of a ghost broker, can be found on IFED’s dedicated ghost broking webpage.

To help raise awareness of ghost broking among this age group and reduce the number of those falling victim, IFED has today launched a targeted national awareness as a follow up to its original ‘Steer Clear of Fraud’ campaign from February 2018.

Why are young people targeted?

Of those who fall within this age bracket, a number of them will be students and will be vulnerable to approaches from ghost brokers.

Students typically do not have much money at this stage of their lives, and coupled with the high insurance premiums they face, they are prime targets for ghost brokers. They may also be more susceptible to the cheap, alluring prices that ghost brokers offer. On top of this, some young people may not yet have a complete understanding of the insurance industry and how to insure their car legitimately.

Given this, and the worrying new figures, IFED is encouraging young people, especially students, to be wary of heavily discounted prices on the internet or cheap prices they may be offered directly for car insurance, as this may well be ghost brokers at work.

Informing students about ghost broking

During the campaign, IFED is joining up with fellow City of London Police officers in attending welcome events taking place at London City and London Metropolitan Universities and Liverpool John Moores Universities. In support, Merseyside Police Officers will also be engaging with students on the subject of ghost broking and giving out IFED leaflets at other Liverpool university welcome events including those at the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University. 

IFED has also shared its campaign materials with all other police forces in England and Wales, enabling them to share them with students in their respective areas.

Detective Superintendent Peter Ratcliffe of the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate, said: "Falling victim to ghost broking can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, and this is especially the case for university students. It will impact them financially, at an important stage of their lives and it could also affect their education and ability to travel. While offers of cheap car insurance may be tempting for students, purchasing car insurance through a ghost broker will end up costing you far more in the long run – both in terms of money and your licence.”

Get Safe Online's Tim Mitchell added: "Driving a vehicle without a valid insurance policy is an offence punishable by law, even if you're doing so inadvertently. If this happens to you as a student, it could impact your chances when it comes to finding your first job and subsequent career progression."

The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) is a specialist police unit dedicated to tackling insurance fraud across England and Wales. Funded by members of the Association of British Insurers and Lloyd’s of London, and hosted by the City of London Police, the team acts with operational independence while working closely with the insurance industry.

 

*Out of the reports where the victim provided their age, the age group 15-24 has reported the most with 181. The second is the age group 25-34 with 144 reports and the third is the age group 35-44 year olds with 61 reports.

**The figures have been calculated in 10 year age brackets. The age group included in the press release is stated as 17-24 year olds, but the official bracket used to calculate the figures was 15-24 year olds. However, there were no victims under the age of 17 and so it wasn’t applicable.

***These are the second (24-35 year olds) and third (35-44 year olds) most likely age group to fall victim to ghost broking.