Over the past several years, Nigeria’s National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has recently been cracking down on fake insurance companies. Though many of the offenders have been shut down, there are still quite a few bad insurance companies out there to watch out for. Listed below are 5 tips you can use if you are in the market for insurance and want to avoid getting tricked by scam artists.

  1. Don’t Buy Insurance from VIO Officials

Individuals working for the Vehicle Inspection Office seem legit: they wear uniforms and they have the authority to inspect your car. VIO employees do not, however, have the authority to sell insurance to the public– so don’t fall for it if they try to get you to buy. Unfortunately, a few VIO employees have recently been caught selling fake insurance certificates to drivers.

  1. If You Are Currently Using Fake Insurance, Buy Real Coverage ASAP

If you knowingly purchased a false motor issuance certificate in order to appear as if you are insured in front of a police officer, now is the time to invest in real coverage. Buying a cheap fake insurance policy today is not only dangerous because fake insurance policies won’t back you up if you get in an accident, it’s also a waste of money because it’s impossible to slide by with a fake document. Officers are now using new mobile technology to verify insurance policies. If your insurance policy isn’t real, you could face a massive fine plus up to a year in jail if caught.

  1. Beware of Fake Motor Insurance Certificates

Beware of fraudsters lurking around licensing office parking lots. Their policies may be cheap and the certificates they sell may look legitimate, but they’re probably not real. Following a raid on licensing offices located in Ikeja, police uncovered a scam in which fake motor insurance certificates were being sold for N2,000. Disturbingly, the fake certificates had realistic looking names and logos of real insurance companies listed on the documents.

  1. Buy Directly From Registered Insurance Companies

NAICOM has a list of authorized insurance companies available on their website at naicom.gov.ng. If you buy insurance from an authorized retailer, you won’t get ripped off.

  1. Verify Your Policy via Mobile Phone

After you purchase your insurance policy, send an SMS to NAICOM’s help line at 33125. Use the following format: policy number* license plate number. After you send the SMS, you will receive a message indicating whether or not your vehicle is insured. Alternatively, visit ww.askniid.org and lookup your vehicle on the site. If it’s not there, it’s not insured. The Nigerian police use the same system to verify vehicle insurance, so be sure that your car is listed there before you hit the road.