Motorists are being warned of a new insurance scam where drivers flash to let someone out of a junction then deliberately crash into them.
The criminals then make money from false personal injury, car repair and loss of earning claims.
It is believed elderly and vulnerable drivers are being targeted by the “flash for cash” gang members.
The warning has come from Asset Protection Unit (APU), which helps the police and the insurance industry investigate fraud.
Neil Thomas at APU said: “Perhaps single females in the car with children in the back, perhaps doing the school run. Where they know there’s going to be no resistance, no real argument at the scene. The children are going to be upset”.
Detective Inspector Dave Hindmarsh from the Metropolitan Police told the BBC the crime is costing the insurance industry hundreds of millions.
He said “The problem is a growing problem.
“Financially it costs insurers £392m a year. That impacts on motorists as it’s an extra £50 to £100 on every person’s premium, so that’s a financial cost.
“There are emotional costs as if you’re involved in a crash you could well lose your confidence, and if your passengers are children they may well become wary of being passengers in cars, and of course you may get injured or killed.”
“Flash for cash” is a similar to the more well-known “crash for cash” scheme where drivers will deliberately slam on their brakes resulting in being hit by the car behind.
In February,four conmen were jailed at Reading Crown Court in Berkshire after the death of Baljinder Kaur Gill, a 34-year-old driver killed in a car crash that had been staged to claim a £20,000 insurance payout.
The incident was the first time a “cash for crash” scam was known to have caused the death of a driver.