National Student Money Week – Police issue ‘ghost insurance broker’ warning

The City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) is raising awareness of insurance fraud amongst students, as universities across the UK take part in National Student Money Week.

The unit is reminding young people to remain wary of ‘ghost brokers’, as new figures show that this age group continues to be a target for this type of fraud.

 The latest figures, released today, show that 17-29 year olds are most likely to fall victim to fraudsters selling fake car insurance, also known as ‘ghost brokers’, with a number of these victims likely to be students.

From January to December 2021, Action Fraud, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre, received 517 reports of ‘ghost broking’, with almost a third (32 per cent) coming from victims aged 17-29 years old. This is an increase on the same period in 2020, when 29 per cent of reports came from this age group.

Figures also indicate that over half (60 per cent) of all reports in 2021 were submitted by men. Of the reports made by 17-29 year olds, over two-thirds (64 per cent) were from men.

The reported losses to ‘ghost brokers’ for all age groups totalled £1 million in 2021, with the average victim losing around £1,950.

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Tom Hill, from IFED, said:

“While it is positive to see that the number of reports for ‘ghost broking’ has decreased by a quarter from 2020 to 2021, the increase in young drivers falling victim to this type of fraud is alarming.

“National Student Money Week is a great opportunity for students to pause and take heed of where their money is going – particularly if they have any suspicions around the legitimacy of their insurance policy.

“Costly insurance premiums and money often being stretched unfortunately make students the perfect target for ‘ghost brokers’. These criminals have even easier access to a wide pool of victims than ever before, with many advertising enticing offers on social media.

“Everybody loves a bargain; however, it truly does pay to check that you are getting the real deal. A bogus policy could mean facing a fine, points on your licence, your car being seized and crushed, not to mention covering the cost of a new, valid policy.”

The unit has witnessed many young people being exploited by their peers. Last year, officers arrested a number of people in their early twenties who were targeting young drivers through sophisticated social media campaigns.

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