Scam of the day – March 10, 2017 – Phony auto accident scam

Staging of automobile accidents is often a well organized scam involving criminal doctors, lawyers, auto repair shops and others.  Scammers will stage automobile accidents in many ways, such as slamming on their brakes while driving in front of you without giving you an opportunity to stop, causing you to hit them from behind.  Generally, the scammers will have phony witnesses to bolster their case.  Sometimes they are willing to settle with you for cash rather than involve your insurance company, but other times they are looking to defraud your insurance company for a bigger payout.

Recently, in China there has been a large number of phony accidents with the pedestrian scammers throwing themselves at cars and then demanding small payments which are often paid by the victims to avoid prolonged arguments or legal entanglements.  Many of these staged accidents are turning up on YouTube, where they are often referred to as “pengci” scams.

TIP

If you are involved in an automobile accident, call the police.  When you exchange license and registration information, be careful not to provide more information than necessary in order to protect yourself from identity theft.  Report all accidents to your insurance company and make sure that you get the license and registration of the other driver or identifying information about pedestrians who may be involved.  Make sure you see the actual license and registration rather than just take the information provided by the other driver or involved pedestrian.