55°F
weather icon Clear

‘Crash for Cash’ scams invade even small towns

First recognized in Southern California in the mid 1980’s, automobile Crash For Cash scams have spread to every state in the U.S. If you think that you are immune because you live in a nice, quiet, little town, guess what? You’re not. Crooks love pulling this one in nice, quiet, little towns because nobody is expecting it.

The most common accidents are dubbed “Swoop and Squats.” Bad Guy(s) Number One (BG#1) sees you driving in a clean late model car that’s probably well insured, and positions his car in front of yours. BG#2, suddenly passes both of you, swoops in front of BG#1 and slams on the brakes. BG#1 brakes hard (he’s a professional at staging this type of accident) and manages to just miss BG#2. You slam on your brakes, too, but rear-end BG#1. BG#2 speeds off.

The car you hit in this staged accident is usually older and will carry 2-6 occupants. Even if they say “yes, we’re fine,” understand that they WILL sign with an attorney and begin treatment for “injuries” within 48 hours. Eventually you get sued.

So, why did they want to get rear-ended? Liability, that’s why. If you hit another car in the rear, no matter the circumstances, it’s your fault. Plain and simple.

There are three magic words to protect yourself. Document, document, document. Take pictures of everything that moves. Use your cell phone camera or carry a small digiital camera in your glove box. Both cars, the scene, the participants, close, far, everything! And by the way, it is just as important to visually document a small (even no damage) accident as it is to visually document a more significant impact. A picture really is worth a thousand words.

Finally, if you have even the smallest suspicion that you may have been set up as a “Liability Bank,” make sure that you clearly communicate those concerns to your insurance company when you report the loss. Most insurers have Special Investigation Units (SIU’s) and the quicker they know, the more effective they can be in heading off a fraudulent claim.

Why is this all so important? Because it is YOU who ultimately bears the cost of insurance fraud. Claims costs, all claims costs, are passed on to the consumer. And this particular crime is (1) big business — the “average” Swoop &Squat results in a $20,000 settlement, and (2) dangerous and must be stopped. Victims and participants have lost their lives due to unintended injuries in staged accidents gone bad.

Drop by the Pahrump Valley Times offices, 2160 E. Calvada Blvd., for a copy of Leslie Kim’s latest book “123 Main Street … the Scamming of America.” Only $19.95 while supplies last.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Spring Mountain Medical’s toy drive is underway

The Christmas spirit is alive and well at Pahrump’s Spring Mountain Medical as doctors and staff are coordinating a toy drive once again this year.

Library gun ban proposal is set for consideration in Pahrump

The Pahrump Community Library Board of Trustees is set to address a very contentious issue, a possible ban on guns in the library’s story room, at its next meeting on Monday, Dec. 9.

Project at Duck Ponds in Pahrump

The duck ponds at the Nye County and town administration building at the Calvada Eye will be undergoing a thorough cleaning and repair project during the next couple of weeks, town government announced in a Dec. 3 Facebook post.

List: Christmas, holiday events in Pahrump region

Here is a look at Christmas and holiday-related events in the community. See full list at pvtimes.com and in the Nov. 27 Pahrump Valley Times newspaper print edition and in upcoming editions of the newspaper.

Pahrump community joins together for Thanksgiving feast

On a chilly day in the Pahrump Valley with the crispness of autumn singing in the air, hundreds gathered together for an afternoon of companionship, camaraderie and good food at the Community Outreach Thanksgiving Dinner.

Divas on a Dime: Puff pastry palmiers offer versatile holiday baking

Puff pastry is a freezer staple year-round, but I find myself using it constantly during holiday season. Its ease is matched only by its versatility. I’m sharing a technique for making palmiers that’s so easy it’s a perfect treat to make with your kids. Or if you’re like me it’s a perfect shortcut to making people think you’re an expert on French pastry.