Author Guest Post
Crashers - How Not To Be A Victim Of One
By Lindy S. Hudis
Of the 10 million or so automobile accidents reported each year, one out of five of them may not even be accidents at all. In fact, they just may be a planned or "staged" accident - one of the fastest growing types of fraud in the country today. If you drive a car, you could be another victim.
What criminals find most alluring about this type of fraud, is that it is difficult to prove. This is why the "crash for cash" accidents continue to be a growing problem. How fast is this growing? The National Insurance Crime Bureau states that as recently as 2009, there were around 85,000 questionable insurance claims reported. That is up 43% from 2008. It may not be bank robbery, but this crime is here to stay.
There is also an array of professionals who are recruited to participate in this type of fraud. Attorneys, doctors and various "victims" - sometimes referred to as "cappers" and "hammers" - all collaborate to misrepresent facts to fraudulently obtain insurance money. The results of this are skyrocketing costs for insurance premiums, medical insurance, and various other expenses. This crime costs the insurance industry literally hundreds of millions each year.
Staged automobile accidents usually include these types of situations: fake auto accidents with phony injuries, falsification of reports about cars being hit, and "victims" being added to fake accident reports.
There are several types of scams involved in these particular crimes:
1) Swoop and Squat - A vehicle, the "hammer car", will cut you off in traffic (the swoop) and suddenly slams on the brakes (the squat) which results in a rear-end collision. The suspect car has "victims", or "stuffed passengers", who claim to have painful neck and back injuries, even if the collision was at a low speed.
2) Sideswipe - A fraudulent "victim" / driver could deliberately ram you at a busy intersection.
3) "Helpers" - You could be approached by a friendly stranger at the scene of an accident. They may seem like they are trying to "help" you, but in reality they will try to bully you into seeking treatment at a specific medical clinic, a specific attorney, or a specific body shop for the repairs on your car. This person could be a "capper" - an individual who recruits various people into his network.
What can you do to avoid being a victim? The answer is to be proactive, not reactive. First, never tailgate. It's dangerous, and makes you an easy mark for any unscrupulous drivers. Second, glance into your rear view mirror every 8 seconds to observe the drivers behind you. Keep a safe distance between you and them. Third, look beyond the car in front of you while driving. Keep your eyes up and on the road at all times. Never drive distracted. If you follow basic common sense advice while driving, you can be rest assured that you, and your passengers, will remain safe, and you won't be a victim to an dishonest drivers.
About The Author
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Lindy S. Hudis' Crashers Virtual Book Tour Page On Pump Up Your Book!
Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway
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Publisher: Bettie Youngs Books Publishers
Publication Date: April 27, 2012
Format: Paperback - 253 pages / Kindle - 296 KB / Nook - 646 KB
Genre: Crime Fiction / Suspense / Thriller
BUY THE BOOK: Crashers: A Tale of "Cappers" and "Hammers"
BARNES & NOBLE
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.
Fraudulent car accidents is a multi-million dollar racket, involving unscrupulous medical providers, personal injury attorneys, and the cooperating passengers involved in the accidents—and who also receive a portion of the illegal proceeds. Such is the fate of newly engaged, Nathan and Shari, whose joy is tempered by the dark cloud of mounting debt.
A chance encounter with a stranger in whom Shari confides her troubles proves fortuitous: he tells her of a get-rich-quick scheme that will put her and her fiancé on easy street. Seduced by the chance to move from hard times to good times in no time, Shari takes the carrot offered her, and finds herself acting as a “stuffed passenger”—the “victim” in a staged auto accident. The act goes according to plan and Shari gets her payday, but getting out and breaking free of the insurance fraud underworld will take nothing short of a miracle.
A modern day cautionary tale, Crashers is a true-to-life novel that uncovers how the innocent get lured into the scheme of “cappers” and “hammers.”
A riveting story of love and desperation, greed and redemption.
My Book Review:
Just when life should be all roses for newly engaged couple Shari Barnes and Nathan Townsend, life takes a downward turn and sends it into a tailspin. Shari and Nathan both lost their jobs and with mounting debt, Shari gets into a car accident, which was staged by the other party as part of a car insurance fraud scam. A chance encounter with a stranger named Bryce will lead this couple to being seduced by his get-rich-quick scheme and join the insurance fraud underworld. Joining may have been easy for the couple, but trying to break free from this group will be costly.
Crashers is an intriguing true-to-life crime tale that takes an informative look into the underworld of fraudulent car insurance scams. This riveting, intense and fast-paced suspense thriller has enough twists and turns that will captivate you from the start and keep you guessing. This story will make you sit up and take notice, it will make you think about how to change the way you drive, teach you to be more careful, and how to maintain focus on everything around you when you are travelling down the road. It will open your eyes to the fact that there are shady people in the world that prey on the vulnerability of others in order to commit car insurance fraud, and that a car accident may in fact be more than what it seems.
The author weaves a fascinating tale set in the fast-paced highways of Los Angeles, it is rich in detail and vivid descriptions that are simply astounding. When illegal get-rich-quick schemes and greed come together, it provides an intoxicating motivation for desperate people to take desperate measures that breeds corruption and could turn innocent lives upside down or destroy them.
The author has created an intriguing cast of characters who are realistic and complex. I enjoyed reading the story from the multiple character points of view. Each character added another layer of suspense to the story, the interactions and dialogues made the story that much more of a powerful and compelling read. I couldn't help but feel for the naive couple, Shari and Nathan, but the circumstances that they put themselves into showed their flaws. I was fascinated by Bryce, he is one slick dude who knew how to work the illegal scam perfectly, well almost. I would be remiss if I didn't mention my favorite character, Louise the police detective. Her intuitive style of investigating the insurance fraud ring kept me riveted and cheering for her.
Crashers is a riveting eye-opener of a true-to-life crime thriller that will send chills down your spine. This informative tale will change the way you drive, and it will make you more aware of your surroundings and the other drivers on the road. Protect yourself, don't fall victim to a potential car insurance scam!
RATING: 4 STARS ****