Be on your guard for fraudsters advertising claims numbers online

A growing number of customers who experience road traffic accidents are falling victim to scammers pretending to be insurance companies in Google adverts.

Fraudsters are always innovating and looking for new ways to exploit consumers for their own financial gain. Unfortunately, honest consumers end up paying the price, whether it’s the stress of being defrauded or through increased insurance premiums.

The latest trend we’re seeing relates to car insurance claims. A growing number of customers who experience road traffic accidents are falling victim to scammers pretending to be insurance companies.

These companies advertise false contact numbers on search engines to trick customers into filing their insurance claim with them instead of their actual insurer. They prey on the fact that those who have been in an accident might be in a hurry, and typically rely on search engines to find their insurer’s contact details.

Exaggerating cost to make a profit

These companies mislead customers into thinking they’re speaking to their insurer, and arrange vehicle hire and repairs on their behalf. They do this so they can exaggerate the cost to make a profit. They might also delay repairs to keep the customer in a hire/courtesy vehicle for longer which, again, boosts their profit.

Protecting our customers is a top priority, so RSA, and the industry as a whole, is working hard to help report sites to the Police and Google to get them taken down. However, new sites are created frequently.

Top tips for avoiding the scam

  1. The safest way to make a claim is by using the contact number in your policy book. Store this somewhere safe, and save the contact number in your phone in case you need it while you’re on the go.

  2. If you have to use a search engine to look up your insurer’s number, look for the ‘Ad’ symbol next to the search results. These normally appear at the top of the search, and might not be owned by your insurer.

  3. Check the URL address of the website – our official websites in the UK are rsagroup.com and morethan.com. If the address doesn’t look right then it’s likely to be the wrong number.

  4. Ask if you’re speaking with RSA (or MORE TH>N if you’re a MORE TH>N policyholder). They might say that you’re speaking with your insurer even if you’re not, but some might tell you if you ask them outright.

  5. If in doubt, hang up. Insurance companies follow strict data protection guidelines and will always ask questions relevant to the circumstances. It’s unlikely that an insurance company will transfer a customer to a third party to ‘deal’ with the claim.

If you suspect you may be a victim, contact your insurer immediately using the contact details in your policy book.

You can also contact the Insurance Fraud Bureau on their Cheatline: 0800 422 0421. Calls to this number are free and you can remain anonymous.