Trust traffic investigators when facing accident fakers — experts

Car accident
(Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — Jordanians are being targeted through a scam that involves staged car accidents and often targets vulnerable elderly drivers with threats and blackmail. اضافة اعلان

In a statement, the Public Security Directorate (PSD) confirmed last week that they had received information and complaints about a number of people defrauding citizens by fabricating accidents.

Scammers throw themselves in front of cars or pretend they are hit to extort the motorists, demanding money in exchange for not submitting complaints about these accidents.

PSD spokesperson, Colonel Amer Al-Sartawi, added that an investigative team from the Criminal Investigation Department in northern Amman identified three people who were allegedly involved in committing a number of these crimes and arrested them. The suspects “confessed during the interrogation to fabricating traffic accidents and defrauding citizens, and the case was referred to the judiciary.”

The disturbing crimes come during a time of economic downturn and a high rate of unemployment.

“This action rarely takes place in Jordan,” said lawyer Eyad Al Baw to Jordan News. “Yet it is there, and I believe that legislation must be reviewed so that those who think about committing such a crime reconsider their plans.”

“I believe that penalties taken against them should be more serious,” Baw elaborated. “This is such a disturbing crime that should never happen again.”

Khaled Barakat, another jurist, confirmed to Jordan News that before electronic accident reports were standardized, this practice used to be common. “I can say that this crime takes place in Jordan from time to time but not too often,” he explained.

“Some people fake or fabricate car accidents,” he claimed.  “Those who think they are victims of a fake car crash should get in contact with traffic accident investigators. They can help them easily and protect their rights when the accident is proven to be fake.”

Zaid Al Otoum, a member of the Parliament, said in remarks to Jordan News that the matter is not about the legislation and penalties taken against those people. “It is all about the actual role of the traffic accident investigators; they should do their work efficiently and collect data and evidence.”

Alaa Jardaneh, also a lawyer, told Jordan News that these fraud schemes occur in many ways. One of the most familiar ways is when the perpetrator, for example, breaks a car’s mirror on purpose, and claims that the victim hit it.

Former minister and columnist, Sabri Rbeihat, has recently written an op-ed recalling two of such incidents that happened with him personally. 

Jardaneh called on victims to call the police or traffic accident investigators and tell them what happened exactly. “They will help you, they have all the needed tools to reveal and detect the exact details and evidence of the accident and punish the doer. Just do not be scared or weak and you will be fine.”

A 2017 amendment to the Penal Code stiffened the penalty for faking traffic accidents to imprisonment of two years and a fine of JD50 in cases of extortion to obtain an unlawful benefit if the alleged matter is related to a traffic accident.

The amendment, which passed all its constitutional stages and was published in the Official Gazette on 30/8/2017, came after the occurrence of many cases of fake traffic accidents in the past years.

The Criminal Investigation Department called on citizens to not end any traffic accident through an unofficial deal, and encouraged them to go through the legal procedures with official authorities to investigate the accident and reach the truth.

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