Is your car insurance policy genuine? Motorists are being conned into taking out fake car insurance from false companies, police have warned.
West Yorkshire Police has issued a warning to motorists to check the legitimacy of their policy - after reports of 'ghost broking'.
It means that thousands of motorists could be uninsured because of 'ghost' policy scams.
Police have warned of con merchants using social media to trick motorists into buying fake insurance policies.
Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, received more than 850 reports linked to 'ghost broking' in the last three years.
What is ghost broking?
Ghost brokers sell apparently cheap motor insurance deals - but the policies they issue are worthless.
They may take and use drivers' correct details, but often falsify information like the age or address to get the premium lower.
There are two ways the scams work:
- Policies are bought from real insurance companies using false information, and are then doctored before being sold to customers.
- Fake policy documents designed to look legitimate are created and sold to customers.
It means you could have handed over hundreds of pounds for a 'great deal' - but you're not insured at all.
Even if you have bought a fake policy, you are still liable for not being insured - which means your car could be seized by police, you'll pay a fixed penalty of £300 and you will need to take out legitimate insurance as well as pay to have your car released by the police.
Mark Godfrey, managing director of RAC Insurance, said: "This is a very disturbing crime, which takes advantage of young male drivers who are naturally keen to take out cheaper car insurance as they are paying the highest premiums in the market due to the higher risk.
"We urge every young driver to be extremely wary of approaches from so-called insurers via social media. Whenever considering insurance cover, drivers are best advised to choose a reputable motor insurer and to ensure they check all of their paperwork. If a deal sounds too good to be true then it probably is."