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Van insurance customers have been warned against being directed to buy their policies through social media during the post-Christmas period after a number of scams came to the attention of the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).

The van insurance scams centre around the use of so-called ‘ghost brokers’ which offer seemingly enviable rates, usually targeting younger drivers and others vulnerable to exploitation because of their difficulty in finding cheap cover – one in three victims are aged 18 to 24.

However, by buying one of these bogus policies, van drivers face being left without any form of cover and potential prosecution for driving without insurance, which can result in six penalty points and a £300 fine as well as seizure and destruction of their vehicle. Unfortunately, for those who are unwittingly caught out by the scam, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

According to the City of London’s Police Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, victims of the scam lose an average of £769.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fye said that although cheap van insurance “may seem tempting”, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is; as such, the best course of action for these motorists is to compare van insurance quotes with one or more firms who specialise in the provision of van insurance quotes.

Furthermore, the IFB says that rising van insurance prices have led to an increase in ghost broking scams, with IFB investigations into ghost broking scams more than doubling over the past three years.

How to check whether a broker is real

According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau, the only way to check whether an insurer is legitimate is to see if they are registered with the British Insurers Brokers’ Association; policies should also be registered with the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.