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The practice is dangerous, illegal and a drain on your wallet. And it’s taking place on Tampa Bay area streets.
Staged car accidents are an easy way for criminals to cash in without you even knowing you’re a victim.
"It takes money out of every one of our pockets,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Larry McKinnon. “It affects every one of our insurance claims"
New video released Thursday by the National Insurance Crime Bureau shows how some of these scams are carried out.
Many times the scam involves as many as eight people, giving the scammers their best chance of maximizing insurance payouts.
“You’re easily looking at a $100,000 scam,” McKinnon said.
Most of these accidents are minor, McKinnon said, but scammers will act as if they suffered major injuries.
"If you see somebody that has four or five people in the car, you know it’s a minor crash, and they're all of a sudden all claiming back and neck injuries, you may want to send that information along to your insurance company," McKinnon said.
By taking a closer look at these accidents, investigators said they’re putting a dent in the lucrative crime.
"Since then we have got it almost down to nothing,” said McKinnon. “We've got a serious reduction in the overall incidents and personal injury claims."
The National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Los Angeles Police Department has produced a series of videos demonstrating four kinds of staged accidents: