A Garda Superintendent has warned that ghost insurance brokers are preying on the naivety and inexperience of new Irish citizens to take out fraudulent insurance policies.
The comment from Supt Tom Murphy came after Aviva revealed that more than 10,000 motor insurance policies have been taken out by so called ‘ghost brokers’. The company said it is dealing with up to 1,500 policies that were taken out fraudulently.
Supt Murphy, who is leading investigations into the scheme, told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland: “A lot of the people we have found are pure innocent victims, new Irish people coming in who fall into a trap because they are targeted in their own language.
These ghost brokers are preying on the naivety and inexperience of these people to fully understand the Irish system, they prey on victims.
Nataliya Nastechyk, who was a victim of the scam paid more than €2,000 for her policy, as well as several hundred euro as a brokerage fee. She told Morning Ireland that she paid the supposed brokerage fee directly into a bank account.
The fee she was charged represented a saving of more than 50% of what a legitimate company had quoted.
However, the illegal broker supplied misleading information to the insurance company concerned and they detected the fraud.
Ms Nastechyk, who is from Ukraine, explained how the man who acted as a broker spoke Russian, which was useful, as she had poor English at the time, and did not understand the insurance system in Ireland.
"I told him I am looking for a good one (policy) as I was working here and living with my children and I wanted everything to be right," she said.
After she paid the brokerage fee directly into his bank account, she received her insurance certificate and disc in the post from her insurance company, so she thought it was all above board.