Fraudulent Plant Hire Thefts on the Rise

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Insurers are indicating that they are seeing an emerging claims trend of increasing numbers of plant hire thefts  involving fraudulent hirers. This can have a massive impact on your business due to the cost  of replacing  plant and the lost hiring opportunity while you wait for replacements to arrive so we wanted to give you more information to help.

Emerging trends to be aware of

  • Increase in the use of technology means that fraudsters are becoming smarter and have the means to clone the details of genuine companies so that the request looks legitimate. Any security checks you carry out will then be done on this “cloned” company so you will not be alerted of anything untoward
  • Providing false documents such as evidence of insurance
  • Changing the address of delivery whilst en route
  • Paying in cash
  • Hiring large quantities of high-value plant at once

What can you do?

  • Carry out robust ID checks using Companies House searches, email addresses, company details, headers on correspondence etc
  • If you are dealing with a trusted firm you have done business with before but are dealing with a new contact, contact your usual company contact to make sure they are a genuine employee and they have the correct authority
  • Create passwords to hire and collect your plant and change these regularly
  • Check the recipient’s ID and vehicle details against DVLA
  • Ask for a landline phone number
  • Restrict credit or value limits and insist on payments upfront
  • If paying by credit card, check the name on this against the ID obtained and check for the use of pre-loaded cards
  • Install integrated trackers on your plant items
  • Ultimately be vigilant and be aware, ensure you create a culture of this within your organisation

What should I do if I am a victim of fraudulent plant hire?

  • Contact the Police immediately and provide them with the lost items’ serial numbers
  • Contact your tracker provider immediately
  • Advise your insurance broker as soon as possible so the claim can be reported to your insurers. You will be asked for a number of documents, (including, but not limited to: original purchase invoice; serial number; description of the lost items including year of manufacturer;  details of the Police station you reported this to along with their crime reference number; and details of the checks that you carried out on the hirer.

Use the above as a guide to ensure you and your staff remain vigilant to reduce the risk of loss. Also,  ensure you are familiar with the full requirements of your policy to ensure you are complying with all of your insurer’s requirements. Remember that if you do not carry out all the relevant checks then ultimately your insurance cover may be invalid. If you would like to discuss your own insurance cover and get some advice about this issue, contact us at Hugh J Boswell and we will be happy to assist.