DON’T FALL FOR THIS COMMON SCAM
What is the SWOOP and SQUAT?
You won’t see swoop and squat on “Dancing with the Stars” or “America’s Got Talent!”
It is a form of automotive fraud. A swoop and squat happens when two cars block you in on your sides, then a third car swerves in front of you and brakes, causing you to rear-end it. The other two cars then drive off, leaving you at the scene of the accident with a busted car and looking liable for the accident. Often, the squat car is full of accomplices to the fraud who will insist they are injured, even in low speed accidents. They will then submit fraudulent insurance claims to your insurance company.
Another variant involves just one car, swerving in front of you and slowing down to cause an accident.
The swoop and squat is highly prevalent in California and costs insurance companies millions of dollars every year. The prevalence of swoop and squat was discovered after an investigation following the death of Jose Perez in 1992.
Perez was a passenger in a squat car attempting to cash in on a commercial truck’s insurance policy. When the car he was riding in attempted the swoop and squat, the semi-truck smashed into the back of the squat car and then jackknifed. Perez was killed and another passenger was seriously injured.
How Do I Avoid Becoming the Victim of the Swoop and Squat Scam?
- Realize that it can happen to anyone – including you.
- Always be aware of the traffic around your car.
- Avoid any vehicles that are behaving suspiciously.
- If a suspicious vehicle gets into your lane, slow down and/or change lanes.
- Always leave plenty of distance between your car and the cars in front of you. A good rule of thumb is to leave one car length ahead of your car for every ten miles per hour you are moving.
- If you do get into an accident, document all aspects of the scene. Get every witness’s contact information and photograph all cars and drivers involved.
- When driving in urban and metropolitan areas, be on high alert for this kind of scam.
- If you drive a valuable car or a commercial vehicle, realize you are the most attractive target for this kind of scam.
- Invest in a dashcam.
- Report suspected fraud to the National Insurance Crime Bureau at (800) 835-6422.