Des Plaines, Ill. — Through formal information exchange agreements with three private companies, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), Des Plaines, Ill., a not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through information analysis, investigations, training and public awareness, has proactively increased its efforts to detect and identify stolen vehicles.

As of July 31, 2008, the data sharing effort with CARCO Group Inc., Holtsville, N.Y., Dublin-based Experian and Carfax, Fairfax, Va., has identified 200 stolen vehicles with a combined value of $3,419,623.

CARCO, Experian Automotive and Carfax each have worked with NICB to identify suspect vehicle identification numbers (VINs) of several thousand vehicles which they process within their unique business environments.

CARCO performs pre-insurance physical damage vehicle inspections in more than 20 states, and provides NICB access to vehicle-specific data relating to those inspections. Typically a CARCO inspection will contain photographs of a vehicle's VIN and federal certificate along with vehicle options, accessories and damage. Over a period of more than 30 years, CARCO has developed multi-tiered automated and manual inspection expertise in recognizing "suspect" VINs—those appearing to be manipulated or altered—and will often refer those VINs to NICB for additional investigation. Numerous stolen vehicles have been identified and recovered from CARCO leads.

Recently, acting on information provided by CARCO, NICB identified several domestic and foreign luxury vehicles, which had been cloned, re-tagged or were displaying counterfeit VINs. During the recovery of these stolen vehicles, NICB identified and recovered additional stolen vehicles at various locations.

Experian Automotive has been providing data sets to NICB containing VINs that meet specific "indicators" of insurance fraud and/or vehicle theft. Through its AutoCheck vehicle history reports, Experian has the unique ability to query their data with those indicators that have been identified by NICB analysts as consistently evident in stolen vehicle trafficking.

In a recent example, NICB analysts asked Experian Automotive to research registration data on a given year make and model vehicles that were suspected of being registered with specific altered VIN patterns. This joint cooperation resulted in the recovery of multiple stolen vehicles in various states.

Carfax provides information to NICB on vehicles they identify as potential clones. A clone is a stolen vehicle, which carries the same VIN of a legally registered vehicle. Analyzing the nearly 6 billion vehicle records in its database, Carfax has pioneered efforts to identify various types of vehicle fraud, including VIN cloning, in vehicle history reports.

In one example, Carfax information helped identify a late model truck that had an active registration in Canada, but also had a concurrent registration in Florida. Further investigation by NICB agents determined that the Florida vehicle was stolen and registered with the Canadian VIN using an altered title from the Washington, D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

"This kind of cooperative information sharing arrangement among the acknowledged leaders within the vehicle history and vehicle inspection industries and NICB demonstrates the power of targeted analysis," says Joe Wehrle, president and CEO of NICB. “Vehicle theft schemes continue to evolve, and by combining the talent within each of our organizations, we are able to ferret out criminal activity that is increasingly more complex. Staying ahead of the bad guys helps keep insurance costs down for all consumers.”

Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau

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