Motor insurance scams rising despite crackdown
It looked like a quick buck - let her car be used in a fake accident and submit dodgy medical claims, but it soon went sour and left Belle (not her real name) on the hook as part of a motor insurance scam.
She was jailed for 10 months for cheating and giving false information, and the nurse in her 40s lost her job of 20 years.
Such scams are rife despite the police's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) taking a hard-line approach.
According to one estimate, 20 per cent of all motor insurance claims are dodgy.There were 26 reports of such cases lodged in the first nine months this year compared with just 13 for the whole of last year.
Most reported cases are linked to large-scale syndicates, said Superintendent (Supt) Abdul Rani Abdul Sani, head of the CAD's Insurance and Specialised Fraud Branch.
They tend to be reported by insurers or discovered in the course of related investigations, he added.
Investigations involve CAD officers uncovering layers of operations, at times involving over 100 people who play roles such as recruiters, stunt drivers and phantom passengers.
These syndicates usually recruit by word of mouth or through chance encounters, said Deputy Supt Johnny Sim, officer-in-charge of the team.
The team has taken down at least five major syndicates over the past five to six years.
Efforts by the CAD and insurers to clamp down on motor insurance fraud has also led to increased prosecutions, with 66 last year, up from 60 in 2015 and 48 in 2014.
Fraud remains prevalent and results in insurers having to bear losses which affect motorists through higher premiums, said General Insurance Association chief executive Ho Kai Weng.