Man from Barking arrested in crackdown on alleged 'ghost broking'

A view of a road

A man from Barking has been arrested during a nationwide crackdown on ghost broking. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A man has been arrested as part of a nationwide crackdown on the alleged sale of fake car insurance.

The 44-year-old was arrested in Barking on suspicion of fraud by false representation and money laundering.

Ten warrants were carried out across the country last week by the City of London Police's insurance fraud enforcement department (IFED) targeting alleged "ghost broking".

This is a tactic whereby fake car insurance is sold using a variety of different methods. 

Det Ch Insp Edelle Michaels, head of IFED, said: "The varied face of ghost broking means that the public should always be cautious and wary when purchasing insurance."

She advised people to ask whether the person they are dealing with really is who they say they are and if unsure, to check the list of authorised brokers at the Financial Conduct Authority or the British Insurance Brokers' Association.

Ghost brokers can pose as middlemen for insurance companies, claiming to offer legitimate car insurance at a significantly cheaper price.

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But in reality, the policies are either invalid or fraudulent as a result of forged insurance documents, falsified details or a genuine policy which is quickly cancelled.

Most victims do not realise they do not have genuine cover until they are stopped by police or try to make a claim.

During the national crackdown, officers made seven arrests and seized more than 100 pieces of evidence in 14 searches.

This included what police say are fake no-claims bonus discount forms, notebooks with handwritten details of alleged victims and policies as well as thousands of pounds in cash. 

The week of action also included IFED working with the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) and social media companies to take down accounts advertising fraudulent broker services.

Stephen Dalton, head of intelligence and investigations at the IFB, said: "With unrealistically cheap yet completely fake car insurance deals being sold across social media, it’s concerning to think there may be many young and vulnerable victims being left out of pocket and potentially facing prosecution for driving without insurance."