Ghost Broking – Don’t be fooled by this rising scam
A quick search online for the term ‘ghost broking’ will reveal the true extent of this scam. With car insurance prices on the rise, it’s no wonder that so many drivers are on the hunt for cheaper insurance. As with the old adage ‘If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is’.
What is ghost broking?
‘Ghost broking’ is where scammers pose as middlemen between the driver and well-known insurers claiming to offer legitimate car insurance at a significantly cheaper price.
How do they “advertise”?
Often promoting their “services” on Whatsapp, Facebook, student websites, money saving forums and marketplace websites like Gumtree. Fraudsters will make it as difficult as possible to be traced once they’ve taken your money.
How does it work?
There are a number of ways that tricksters will use to target high-risk drivers, these are just three of the main ones:
- Falsify your details to bring the price down.
- Take out a genuine policy for you, before cancelling it shortly after.
- Forged insurance documents.
You may also not know you’re covered until you need to make a claim or stopped by the police.
What happens if I’ve bought from a ghost broker?
This is where ghost broking can get scary…
- You won’t have valid insurance.
- You would be liable for claim costs.
- You could receive 6 points on your licence.
- A £300 fixed penalty notice.
- Your car might be seized along with having to pay daily storage costs.
- Your vehicle could be crushed.
How to avoid ghost brokers?
There are a number of checks that you can carry out prior to taking out a new car insurance policy.
- Check with the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) – The FCA is the conduct regulator for thousands of financial services firms and markets in the UK. They make sure that brokers are honest, fair and effective so that consumers get a fair deal. Check their website for a full list of their members: https://register.fca.org.uk/
- Check with BIBA (British Insurance Brokers’ Association) – The UK’s leading general insurance intermediary organisation. They represent the interests of brokers, intermediaries and their customers. A full list of its members can be found at https://www.biba.org.uk/
- Check with the insurance company directly to verify your policy and the broker’s details.
- You can check the Motor Insurance Database for free that your vehicle is insured by using your Vehicle Registration Number. Check https://ownvehicle.askmid.com/ for more information.
What should I do if I have been a victim of a ghost broker?
If you believe you have been a victim of this scam, or think a company may not be honest, you can contact Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or call 0300 123 2040. They are on hand 24 hours a day to give you help and advice if you need it.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau is also a great option. You can contact them at www.insurancefraudbureau.org/ or call its confidential Cheatline on 0800 422 0421.
It’s always worth comparing the market to see if you can get cheaper car insurance. While using comparison websites, make sure you follow our steps to make sure you don’t become a victim of this crime.
The best way to not get caught out is to buy car insurance from a reputable broker. Motor Quote Direct is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our FCA Register number is 305737. We’re also registered with the British Insurance Brokers’ Association.