Companies are being warned that core fleet models are most often the target of vehicle crime, while the number of staged accidents involving innocent motorists are on the rise.
Three key fleet models top the theft charts: the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra.
And it’s not just the cars themselves that are being stolen - belongings left in those models are also the most targeted.
Worryingly, the detection rate for such thefts is so low that less than half will ever see their car or belongings again.
Adding to the woe of fleet drivers is the news that staged accidents are becoming ever more sophisticated with tactics such as disconnected brake lights and ‘tag teams’ employed to involve innocent drivers in rear end shunts.
According to car insurance company, swiftcover.com, company car drivers in London or the Midlands are most at risk of theft, while Scotland is the safest area.
Only 25% of stolen vehicles are recovered undamaged.
And with insurance scams on the increase, Interactive Driving Systems has advised fleets on what to look out for.
It has identified three main strategies: roundabouting, roundabout shunt and the Russian Method (see below).
With roundabouts a fruitful hunting ground for fraudsters, research director Dr Will Murray said: “Proceed with caution when approaching roundabouts and do not look for a gap the roundabout until you are at the give way line. Ensure your path immediately in front is clear before pulling onto the roundabout.
“Watch your speed when approaching roundabouts, junctions and slip roads.
"Just sticking to the speed limit and maintaining a realistic safety gap from the vehicle in front will help reduce your risk.”
He also advised not assuming all drivers will act rationally and maintaining a safe distance to cars in front.
Most popular car makes for thieves
1) Ford Fiesta
2) Volkswagen Golf
3) Vauxhall Astra
4) Vauxhall Corsa
5) Nissan Micra
Common methods of inducing crashes
• Roundabouting: A fraudster disconnects brake lights and drives around busy roundabouts. Once a victim is selected, the fraudster drives two to three metres in front of target and breaks sharply.
• Roundabout Shunt: Fraudster stops at a busy roundabout and waits for a potential victim to pull in behind them. The fraudster then pulls quickly onto roundabout, but stops 2-3 metres onto the roundabout. The potential victim’s attention will be focussed on checking for traffic on the roundabout to their right, as they themselves pull onto the roundabout.
• The Russian Method: The vehicle in front of you may slam on when a third vehicle overtakes them at speed and then cuts them up for no obvious reason. In fact the overtaking vehicle may be part of an organised ‘tag team’ who are colluding in order to provide a ‘cover story’ as to why the vehicle ahead braked quickly.