Insurance fraud is not just something that insurance companies need to worry about. You need to protect yourself against fraud. Scams by malicious individuals or groups, or simply negligence, can both cost you thousands of dollars and put you in danger.
When Shopping for Coverage
First and foremost, be cautious about the sources of insurance offers, especially those that are unsolicited. Selling insurance door-to-door or over the phone should be an automatic red flag. Avoid purchasing auto insurance in these ways.
Regardless of which auto insurance company you choose, make sure they are licensed in your state (this is a regulatory measure to keep insurance companies operating according to the law and their own financial standards). Furthermore, when you are looking into a policy, make sure you take the time to understand it. Don't feel bad asking a lot of questions of your insurer-it's their job to keep you informed, and it's your responsibility as the policyholder to be informed. Make sure all "free" additions are in fact free, and understand any caveats that might not be covered under your policy.
When On the Road
Fraud rings have a number of techniques for causing accidents which, legally, appear to be your fault and will force you to pay for another person's intentional damages and medical expenses.
Being an alert driver is always a good (and necessary) part of driving, and doing so should keep you out of most accidents regardless of whether they are intended for fraudulent claims. However, knowing these techniques can help you see potential problems ahead of time so you can avoid them.
When at an intersection with multiple left-turn lanes, it is possible that a con artist can try to side swipe you.
If you are not mindful of staying in your lane when making a turn, you may drift into another lane, allowing a willing driver to swipe you. If you are in the wrong lane then you are considered responsible, regardless of what you personally saw to be willfully reckless driving. The easiest way to avoid this is to simply be mindful of lanes and other vehicles when you turn.
The Swoop-And-Squat is a technique whereby two cars working together will attempt to cause you to rear-end one of them. The "squat" car gets in front of you, and the "swoop" car quickly cuts off the squat car, "forcing" it to stop abruptly. This makes it very easy for you to accidentally rear-end it, but once the swooping car drives off, it appears to authorities as any rear end.
Of course, a swoop car is not necessary in order for a driver to stop quickly, so always be aware of your distance from the car in front of you; make sure that if the car ahead of you stops, it will take you at least 3 seconds to reach it. This way, you'll have enough room to stop whether the driver intends to commit auto insurance fraud or not!
The common element in all situations: awareness. Think critically, stay informed, avoid trusting face value, and you will be less likely to be fooled or manipulated.