Drivers are being warned not to fall for a car insurance fraud.

Essex Police is partnering with Action Fraud and City of London Police to raise awareness of the fraud, called ghost broking.

The scam involves people, particularly young people aged between 17 and 24, being offered deals that are not genuine.

Suspects carry out the fraud by either giving you forged insurance documents, falsify your details to bring prices down or even taking out a genuine policy and cancelling soon after to claim a refund and your money.

Detective Chief Inspector Lee Morton, head of Kent and Essex’s Serious Economic Crime Unit, said: “There are more severe consequences to the scam than just losing your hard earned money.

“By not having a valid car insurance, you could get points on your driving licence, your car seized and even destroyed, and you may receive a fixed penalty notice or be liable for claim costs following an accident.

“Scammers will target victims through social media, they may place adverts in newspapers or could cold call you. In some instances, the suspects have been recommended by friends and family who are unaware they have fallen for the scam.

“By taking some simple steps you can avoid becoming a victim of ghost broking.”

Police advice is:

* Remember, if an offer looks too good to be true, then it probably is;

* Suspects may advertise on student websites or money-saving forums, university notice boards and marketplace websites. They may also try to sell insurance policies in pubs, clubs or bars, newsagents and car repair shops;

* Be wary of suspects using only mobile phone, phone apps or email as a way of contact;

* If you are not sure about the broker, check on the Financial Conduct Authority or the British Insurance Brokers’ Association website for a full list of all authorised insurance brokers;

* You can also contact the insurance company directly to verify the broker’s details and you can check to see if your car is legitimately insured on the Motor Insurance Database.

If you have fallen victim of this scam, please call Essex Police on 101, report it online by visiting www.essex.police/do-it-online or report information anonymously on 0800 555 111.

If you have concerns about a scam, please report this to Action Fraud by visiting