How To Spot And Avoid Ghost Brokers
Consumer Protection Tips
Ghost broker scams have been leaving many motorists across the country uninsured and out of pocket. We’ve put together some helpful advice on how to spot and avoid falling victim to a ghost broker.
What is a ghost broker?
A ghost broker is a fraudster who sells fake or invalid insurance policies. They are not recognised by the Central Bank of Ireland and their activities are illegal.
How do ghost brokers work?
There are two main approaches which ghost brokers take to scam customers:
- They purchase policies from legitimate car insurance companies but change some of the customer’s details, such as age and no claim bonus, in order to lower the premium. The ghost broker then sells this policy on to the consumer and charges a fee for it.
- They forge insurance policy documents and then sell them on to the consumer, pretending that they are working on the behalf of a legitimate insurance company.
If consumers fall victim to either of these scams they will be left with an invalid policy. This means that they will have to pay for any damages or offences committed whilst driving.
How to spot a ghost broker?
Ghost brokers often market their services on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, offering deals on insurance that might seem too good to be true.
They often target individuals that would be less familiar with the Irish insurance industry; such as novice drivers or foreign nationals.
How to avoid a ghost broker?
The best way to avoid falling victim to a ghost broker is to check the Central Bank’s register of authorised insurance providers before purchasing any policy. This will confirm whether the firm is authorised to provide the service, if they are not authorised you should not use them.
If an offer sounds too good to be true, it most likely is and you should check the Central Bank register.
The Central Bank of Ireland also maintains a list of unauthorised firms which are operating in Ireland without regulatory approval. If you come across a company that sounds suspicious, it may be worth checking the register here. However, please note there may be a delay in the case where a ghost broker is set up and a warning notice is published by the Central Bank.