8 on Your Side Investigates Phony Crashes Impacting Bay Area Drivers

Closeup of  car accident

The majority of drivers are careful behind the wheel and try to avoid getting into a car accident. However, there are some rogue individuals operating their vehicles in unsafe ways simply because they want to cash in. These people are deliberately crashing their cars in order to receive financial compensation from their auto insurance companies.

A viewer of On Your Side 8 contacted News Channel 8 to report that he was the victim of one such fraudulent car crashes.

The man, Wei Tsang, reported to the news channel that he had his car stopped at a red light on SR-60 in Brandon when the driver of the vehicle directly in front him put her vehicle in reverse and hit him from the front. Because Tsang has a dash camera, he was able to record the entire incident. He stated that the woman in the car in front of him suddenly pulled over.

After she exited her vehicle, the woman approached him and asked Tsang for his insurance card. He questioned her why she would ask him that and she claimed that he hit her car. Tsang countered and told her that, no, she hit his car. He even played the entire incident for the woman on his dash camera, but she was stubborn and still insisted that he had struck her.

After a few minutes, a Highway Patrol officer arrived at the scene of the incident. Tsang told News Channel 8 that the woman asked him not to say anything about the crash and to instead tell the officer that they were merely talking. At that point, he knew without certainty that the woman was attempting to scam him.

Tsang told the news channel that he thought the woman was trying to get hold of his insurance information so that she could file a fraudulent personal injury claim.

After hearing Tsang’s story, 8 On Your Side did some research about how this type of fake car crash occurs. It uncovered that between 2012 and 2014, there were a number of questionable car accident claims that are believed to be fraudulent. Florida ranked at number one on the list with 3,103 suspect claims, followed by California with 2,770 suspicious claims. At number three was New York with 1,427 suspect claims, Texas was fourth with 978, followed by Maryland at five with 629, Nevada at six with 567 and South Carolina at seven with 546 suspicious claims.

Tsang also reported that he showed the police officer the video he captured, but the woman was let go in spite of it. The trooper told him there was nothing that he could do because there was minimal damage.

Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Staged Accident

There are certain tips you can use to prevent becoming a victim of one of these fake car crashes. They include the following:

• Don’t tailgate other vehicles
• Call police to the scene of an accident immediately
• Use your smartphone’s camera to photograph or videotape all damage and the number of people in other vehicles
• Avoid people known as runners and cappers, who suddenly appear at accident scenes to direct you to lawyers or doctors. They are usually in on the scam
• Avoid doctors that insist you file a personal injury claim after an accident even when you aren’t injured
• Avoid tow trucks that show up at the scene when you haven’t called for them. They are usually scammers for auto body shops

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