How to avoid being targeted by scammers after a car crash.
Queenslanders are warned to be aware of scammers posing as RACQ or other insurance companies.
RACQ Manager Counter Fraud and Investigations Glenn Rowe said unscrupulous accident management companies were paying online search engines to appear at the top of their rankings when drivers searched for their insurer’s details following a crash.
“Drivers are stressed and vulnerable after a crash, so when they click on the phone number on the ad, they assume they’re speaking to RACQ,” Mr Rowe said.
“In reality they’re speaking to someone in a contact centre overseas who then sells their information to an accident management company in Australia.
“The accident management company then obtains authorisation, or in some cases forges it, to manage the claim on the claimant’s behalf. The accident management company refers the claim to a lawyer to recover the costs from RACQ, which are usually inflated by about 70 percent. All the while the claimant thinks they’re dealing directly with RACQ.”
Mr Rowe said accident management scammers cost both the claimant and other Queenslanders.
“Not only is the consumer at risk, as they’ve received substandard repairs to their vehicle by dubious repairers, but they could also be liable to pay the inflated repair costs if they’re eventually found at fault,” he said.
“This is estimated to cost all consumers an extra $70 on average in insurance premiums.
“Scammers also add to the cost of CTP insurance which is paid by all Queensland motorists through vehicle registrations.”
RACQ’s Counter Fraud and Investigations team has worked with Google to change how ads from accident management companies appear.
“After consultation with RACQ, Google changed the formats of their ads to ensure it’s now obvious they are for accident management companies and not insurers,” Mr Rowe said.
He said members making an insurance claim should verify they are speaking to RACQ.
“Accident management scammers won’t say they’re from RACQ, but they will make it seem like they are,” he said.
“If you have any doubts, hang up the phone and double-check that you’re calling the correct number.”
The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.