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Social media warning for motorists

Young drivers in Shropshire could be victims of fraudsters who promise cheaper insurance cover via social media.

Dave Williams, of Henshalls Insurance Brokers in Newport and Shrewsbury, said young male motorists were particularly at risk.

“Young male drivers pay the most for insurance, and so it’s no wonder they are eager to cut the cost of their premiums wherever they can.

“But a rise in the number of ‘ghost brokers’ who are stalking the internet could put them at risk of unknowingly driving without insurance at all.”

Mr Williams said the ghost brokers used a range of tactics, including taking out genuine policies before quickly cancelling them and taking the refund money.

In some cases, they have also forged insurance documents, or given false information to bring the price down.

“The fraudsters are using social media to promote the cheaper policies, including Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp, and they also advertise on student websites, university noticeboards or online marketplaces.

“This scam has seen a huge increase in reports in the last three years, and drivers are often unaware their policy is invalid – or doesn’t exist at all – until they are stopped by police or they are involved in an accident.”

Mr Williams said some fraudsters had set up hundreds of fake policies with the scam earning them thousands of pounds.

“Drivers should be wary of heavily discounted policies, with the age-old message just as relevant today, that if something seems too good to be true then it probably is.

“And don’t accept a price that has been offered directly from an individual – talk to an experienced broker who will find the policy that best meets your requirements from accredited insurance companies.

“Motorists need to remember that driving uninsured could lead to a fixed penalty of £300 and six penalty points – and if the case goes to court, there’s no upper limit on the penalty imposed and you could receive an unlimited fine.

“So, think carefully about where your insurance quote is coming from before you take the deal, otherwise the fraudsters will have found their next victim.”

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