DA’s Office warns of scammers involved in vehicle collisions

Officials investigate the scene of a two-vehicle collision on Highway 126 near Chiquito Canyon Road in Val Verde on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

The financial fallout of a vehicle collision can spiral into becoming a victim of fraud, according to a new warning issued on Friday from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

“Next time you’re on the road, watch out for a fraud that can turn a simple fender bender into a financial wreck,” said Manuel Garcia, deputy district attorney, in a video attached to the warning. “In the staged auto collision scam, criminals will appear as if they’re the victim of a crash to collect payouts from the other driver’s insurance.”

Using various tricks at their disposal, scammers will suddenly pull in front of other vehicles and slam hard on the brakes to cause a rear-end collision. The scammer will then claim the other person was at fault, even if their car has existing damage from a prior crash. The scammer might also claim their passengers suffered injuries as a result of the collision.

The D.A.’s Office recommends people take note of the following tips to stay safe:

  • After a crash happens, immediately call the police;
  • Document the crash by taking photos of the other person’s driver’s license, license plate, vehicle damage and passengers;
  • And if the other driver recommends a body shop, don’t use it; this may be part of the scam.

For more information, watch Garcia elaborate further on how this scam operates in this video: da.co.la.ca.us/community/fraud-alerts/.

Those interested in more information can follow @LADAOffice on Twitter and Instagram for up-to-date news. The above information was shared with The Signal via a news release from the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office.

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