Busting Ghost Brokers
BE PROTECTED WITH BEMOTO
Is there something strange about your policy? It could be a scam and you might not be insured. BeMoto explains what to look for
February 8, 2018
British police have issued a warning about ‘Ghost Brokering’ an insurance scam which has seen 850 reports in the last three years, with victims losing an estimated total of £631,000.
While this type of scam has been around for a long time, it has hit the news again today due to the launch of a national campaign to help bring awareness and better educate consumers.
As a leading motorcycle insurance broker, BeMoto hates to see consumers fall victim to this type of scam. One of our Directors, Mathew Long, has some tips on how to safeguard yourself from ‘ghost brokering’ and what to do if you discover your insurance isn’t valid.
How does the scam work?
“There are many ways this scam works, from falsifying paperwork to taking out an official insurance policy, then cancelling without the policyholder knowing. The ‘ghost broker’ would later claim the refund plus the victim’s original money.
“There are other ways, including giving false driver details which would bring the policy prices down, then leave the policyholder with cancelled insurance if they were to make a claim.”
Are any particular consumers more at risk?
“With a scam like this, anyone is at risk. However, it is likely the scammer will target more vulnerable people,” Mat explains. “So, low income - such as students or the elderly; people less likely to dig deeper or do their due diligence. The police have indicated ‘ghost brokers’ use social media to target victims and advertising on money-saving forums or university notice boards. Essentially, anywhere it is likely those with a lower income and a greater need to save money on insurance will be.”
What can we do to protect ourselves?
“Awareness is key. It isn’t about avoiding brokers, who can often supply better products and more competitive prices, alongside really personal customer care. It’s about learning how to smell a rat.”
When using a broker always check they are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA.) The FCA is a public record and shows details of any company that has been regulated. It used to be known as the Financial Services Authority. If you head to the FCA register and type in BeMoto, you can see the details of our company. If the broker you are using is registered, it is highly unlikely they are acting in an unprofessional or sinister manner. It isn’t a simple process to be FCA approved.
When looking for insurance, dig around and get an idea of price from a variety of well-known providers so you have a guide. Using well-known price comparison websites is another way of seeing what deals there are. Be suspicious of any insurance policy which is heavily discounted or offers you far more than most for your money.
Check the company website and see if they are linked to any service rating sites or established brands such as Feefo which holds honest reviews and info on the company.
Use Gov.uk to check the company info and see if everything adds up
Don’t just rely on the internet though, call the broker and speak to them in person. An honest company will never become defensive when a consumer asks questions, we love questions and telling you about our services!
Protect Your Payment
When paying for any service either use Direct Debit, which can cover you with the Direct Debit Guarantee or if you are making a single payment do so with your credit card. This will give you protection under the Consumer Credit Act, section 75 - Chargeback.
How can I check if I have been a victim of Ghost Brokering?
“The first thing you should do if you are concerned about your insurance is head to
www.askMID.com,” says Mat. “This is the Motor Insurance Database and holds all details of your insurance. It is free to use if you are checking your own vehicle. It can take a couple of days for the MID to receive documents from your insurance company, but there are stringent rules of compliance, so if you have had your insurance for more than a couple of weeks and you aren’t on the system, chances are you aren’t insured.”
The Insurance Certificate
Other clues could be the documents you have at home. BeMoto supply a Certificate of Insurance from the provider. This should have a watermark on it. If there is no watermark on this, we make it very clear you are not covered.
Contact Your Provider
You can also call the insurance provider directly, with your details and they will let you know if you have a valid policy running.
What do I do if I discover I am a victim of this scam?
“Firstly if you are making payments by Direct Debit then contact your bank and stop the payments,” says Mat. “You also need to let them know you suspect you have fallen victim of a scam and you’d like to claim back the false payments under the Direct Debit Indemnity.”
If you paid using a credit card, then contact your provider and ask them for a chargeback. You don’t have to have used your credit card for the whole transaction. If you paid the deposit on the credit card, then the entire amount is covered. E.g. you paid £60.00 deposit on credit card and £600 on debit card, the whole product cost of £660.00 is protected under chargeback and section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
Remember, regardless of whether you have fallen victim to this scam or not, courts have a saying ‘Ignorance isn’t a defence’ and riders without valid insurance are breaking the law and will face punishments including fines, points on their licence and having their vehicles seized. You need to insure it or SORN it straight away.
Contact the FCA and the Financial Ombudsman and report the broker. Make sure you ask for a letter from them to show the report is registered. You may need a copy to show your bank or credit card provider.
If you have any concerns about your policy, please get in touch with the BeMoto team and we will assist you in getting cover that works for you.
Find out more about what makes BeMoto be different at www.bemoto.uk or call 01733 907000.
BeMoto Insurance for road, track and dirt...
Check out our range of insurance products designed by bikers for bikers:
- Road Insurance for any bike type or age, including high value and extensive modifications
- Multi-Bike and collections (including SORN bikes)
- Custom Bike / Trike Insurance
- Trackday Bike Damage (UK & EU circuits) and track bike Fire, Theft and "In Transit"
- Dirt and quad bike insurance on road or Fire & Theft (no V5 required)
- Personal Injury Plans, Personal Accident, Income Protection and Accidental Death (covers all activities including motorcycling on and off road, even amateur or professional racing)
- Repatriation Insurance (amateur trackdays, racing, enduro, motocross etc) and Bike Tour Travel Insurance
- Race Van Insurance for social use vans that you use for trackdays, dirt bike events and racing weekends etc.
Call us at BeMoto Bike Insurance to discuss any of these products of get a quote on 01733 907000*
* Calls may be recorded for our joint protection