Parts of Pendle are among the top “crash for cash” hotspots in the UK, analysis of the scams has found.

The BB9 postcode, which covers Nelson, Brierfield, Barrowford, Higherford, Blacko and Greystone, is the seventh worst area affected, the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) said.

Crash for cash is a common insurance scam which involves fraudsters inventing or deliberately causing dangerous road traffic collisions, often involving innocent people, in a bid to claim compensation.

The IFB helps insurers and the police to fight fraud. It acts as a central hub for sharing insurance fraud data and intelligence, helping to detect and disrupt organised fraud networks.

Of 2.7 million motor insurance claims made from October 2019 to the end of 2020, the IFB believes that more than 170,000 claims could be linked to suspected crash for cash networks.

Investigations have found gangs can be behind thousands of orchestrated collisions in some areas, with the combined value of their fraudulent claims running into the millions.

Ben Fletcher, director at the IFB, said: “Crash for cash fraudsters bring devastation to countless victims and increase motor insurance costs for us all.

“The IFB’s hotspots analysis is a stark reminder that although great strides have been taken in tackling the problem, these car crash scams are all too common.

“As traffic levels return to normal following the national lockdown, crash for cash fraudsters may look to make up for lost time.”

“It is hoped that by shining a spotlight on the issue we will encourage road users to be alert and report any suspicious activity to the IFB’s Cheatline on 0800 422 0421.”

Here are the top 20 crash for cash postcodes in the UK and the city or town they are in, according to the IFB:

1. B25 Birmingham

2. B34 Birmingham

3. B8 Birmingham

4. BD7 Bradford

5. BD3 Bradford

6. WS1 Walsall

7. BB9 Blackburn

8. BD8 Bradford

9. B27 Birmingham

10. RM18 Romford

11. B33 Birmingham

12. WF13 Wakefield

13. BD15 Bradford

14. OL8 Oldham

15. HX1 Halifax

16. M8 Manchester

17. LS8 Leeds

18. N9 North London

19. WF16 Wakefield

20. LU3 Luton

And here are some tips for avoiding crash for cash incidents from the IFB:

– Know what to look out for

Induced car collisions are often caused by fraudsters who slam on their brakes on busy junctions and roundabouts. Some have an accomplice who drives erratically in front of them, so they can divert suspicions by blaming the driver in front.

There have also been rising reports of innocent drivers being crashed into by fraudsters after being encouraged to pull out of side roads, or when creeping forward for a better view.

– Keep a good distance

Always keep a good distance from the vehicle in front. According to the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) the time required to safely stop is two seconds in dry conditions, four seconds in wet conditions and 20 seconds in icy or snowy conditions.

– Stay alert

Look for any potential hazards including unusual driving behaviour.

Focus on vehicles and not just their lights, as fraudsters often disable brake lights.

If other drivers or their passengers are behaving suspiciously, or the condition of their vehicle is poor, such as rear dents, keep back.

– Know the signs after a crash for cash

The driver or their passengers may appear unfazed after a collision. They may exaggerate injuries. Pre-written insurance information may be handed over.