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Auto Accident Investigations

Auto Insurance Fraud Investigations in St. Louis

Do you think a witness may exist for an accident you were involved in, but you don’t know how to or where to begin to look?

Was your vehicle damaged in a video monitored parking area but you’re not sure how to obtain that video?

Do you think you were the victim of a staged accident?

Were you involved in an accident in which the other party is now denying fault after at first admitting it?

Do you suspect that an auto repair shop fraudulently charged you for services not rendered?

People commit auto accident fraud to collect money from insurance companies for injuries never received or repairs never performed. Sometimes even doctors and/or lawyers collude with "victims" to inflate a claim, make it more credible and pressure insurers to settle.

The four most common types of auto accident fraud are:

  • staged accidents in which the drivers intentionally collide;
  • caused accidents in which the criminal involves you in a wreck that is made to look like your fault;
  • auto repair shop fraud by billing for unperformed work or charging to replace parts that were merely repaired; and
  • faked accident reports.

Gateway Investigations has experience in handling fraudulent claims – on both sides of the ledger – and can help determine the credibility of the “victim,” the auto body shop and/or the accident report.

Some common auto insurance scams are:

Swoop and Squat

A suspect vehicle suddenly swoops in front of you and jams on the brakes, causing a rear-end collision. Often the suspect car has passengers who pretend to have painful back or neck injuries, even though the collision was at low speed. The driver and passengers then make large collision and injury claims against your auto policy, for example.

Drive down

You're trying to merge into traffic, and a dishonest driver slows down and waves you forward. He then crashes into your car, but denies waving you into traffic and blames the accident on you. Crooked drivers may also wave you out of a parking space with the same come-on.


Be careful if you're driving in the inner lane of a dual left-turn lane at a busy intersection. Crooks will deliberately ram you if you drift into the outer lane while turning.

Shady Helpers

A stranger may approach you at the crash site, or phone you right afterward. The stranger tries to badger you into getting medical treatment at a specific clinic, repairs at a specific body shop or assistance from a specific lawyer. Be careful! It may be a setup for fraudulent medical treatment, car repairs and/or bogus insurance claims. You could be headed for trouble. Think hard before getting involved with strangers like these.

In addition, some common body shop scams are:

Padding charges

Shops may offer reasonable verbal repair estimates, but then they present final bills that are far beyond the estimates. Or a mechanic may leave the estimated amount blank when you sign a repair authorization, then secretly fill in an inflated amount.

Needless repairs

A shop may pad bills by “repairing” mechanical problems and damage that didn’t exist.

Counterfeit or used parts

Some dishonest shops install parts that are counterfeit, substandard or used, but charge you for expensive new parts. These parts can give out when you’re on the road, putting you and your family at risk. Used parts are viable for some repairs, but crooked body shops will bill you for new parts but install used ones.

Shoddy work or no work performed at all

Auto Insurance Fraud and Auto Accident Investigations

A shop may cut corners by doing quick and shoddy work.

True story: We investigated one mechanic whom we determined held car parts together with nothing more than bailing wire.

True story: We set up a sting and investigated another mechanic who did no work at all, but billed a client and their insurer for a full repair job.

You may have to return several times—wasting your valuable time and causing needless headaches.

If you feel you may be a victim of Auto Insurance Fraud, please contact Gateway Investigations at 314-238-1367 or email at info@gatewaypi.net for a discreet consultation regarding your options.

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