January 18, 2021

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TikTok ‘broken TV’ prank sparked fake insurance claims from fraudsters pretending screen cracked

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A prank that has become popular on TikTok which tricks people into believing their TV screen is cracked has caused a rise in fraudulent insurance claims. 

Children have been successfully fooling their parents by playing a YouTube video that shows an image of a cracked screen and recording their reactions.

Videos of the parents’ responses to seeing their ‘broken’ TV are being filmed and posted to the popular social media app, with some of the best ones going viral.

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A popular prank on TikTok fools parents into believing their TV screen is broken with their children recording their reactions. Pictured: A video on TikTok of Anthony Buffington Junior (right) tricking his father (left) that he smashed their TV screen has more than 3m views

One video posted by Anthony Buffington Junior on TikTok has more than 3million views and shows the fake broken screen on the TV as he plays a sound effect of breaking glass.

His father comes running in at the noise, saying: ‘What in the hell was that?’ and then sees what appears to be a smashed TV screen.

‘What did you do to the d*mn TV?’ he asks Anthony, who plays along with the prank, acting nervous.

‘I didn’t mean to dad,’ he says as his father gets angrier and tells him he will have to pay for it out of his own money.

However, Aviva Insurance, the country’s biggest insurance company, has said the prank is now being used by fraudsters looking to cash in on home insurance policies.

Some customers are attempting to use the ‘broken TV’ prank on insurance companies, to make fraudulent claims.

Speaking to The Times, Sarah Poulter, of Aviva, said: ‘It would appear that the popularity of TikTok showing this prank has attracted some people’s attention. 

‘We have examples of photos sent in by customers where the screens show the exact same image as the YouTube video.’

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However, Aviva Insurance has said it is now being used by fraudsters looking to cash in on home insurance policies by using the exact same image (Pictured: the TikTok prank)

The insurance company said that while new instances of fraud like this one are evolving all the time, they have warned customers against attempting to try the trick.

According to Aviva, in 2018 they detected £80 million of proven or suspect insurance claims fraud, involving 17,000 total suspect claims.

In instances where they do detect fraud, the company says they do not hesitate to investigate and, where appropriate, work with other insurers and the police to prosecute.

Christmastime sees a number of genuine home insurance claims with damage commonly caused by customers putting up or taking down Christmas decorations.

Last year, Aviva paid out more than 100 claims for cracked TVs, as well as 11 claims for customers who put a foot through the ceiling when taking Christmas decorations from the loft.

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