TORONTO – Dashcams have become the best line of defense against staged collisions and fraud.
“It’s an impartial witness of the event,” said Const. Clint Stibbe of Toronto Police Traffic Services. “It gives us, in some cases, a very good picture of what happened.”
A video recorded from a car recently posted to YouTube and Facebook shows a truck about to make a left turn from a parking lot in Hamilton. The vehicle then quickly goes into reverse and collides with the car behind.
The driver with the dashcam in this case claimed it was a “failed fraud” and that the truck purposely backed into his car.
The video was removed from social media soon after it went viral. In an email, the driver told Global News he didn’t want to be identified and didn’t “need any type of lawsuit from these guys for showing their faces and license plate.”
“I don’t know what connections they may have and don’t need harm to come to myself or my family,” he said. “But would love to bring awareness to the general public that these schemes do happen, close to home, and there are ways of protecting yourself.”
According to retailers, dash cam sales are on the rise.
“We’ve really seen them become a lot more of a hot item in the last year or so,” said Ren Bostelaar, Manager for Henry’s School of Imaging. “I think people are beginning to see what people are using them for and they realize they can be really useful.”
An incident involving two cars on the 401 in 2012 prompted backlash online after one car seemed to have backed into another. The driver of the vehicle caught on camera was eventually charged with fraud over $5000.
Fake fender-benders and insurance fraud is estimated to cost several billion dollars every year in Canada.
“Any case of insurance fraud or staged collisions is too frequent,” said Pete Karageorgos, spokesperson for the Insurance Bureau of Canada.”That’s because those instances are people trying to defraud the system.”
In the case of a collision, it’s recommended by police that drivers exchange information, take photos and save any recorded video before reporting to a Collision Reporting Centre within 24 hours.
“The moment you make an assumption is the moment someone takes advantage of you,” Stibbe said.
Hamilton Police released a statement saying there is not enough information in the case of the truck backing into another vehicle to provide comment.