NICB’s Hot Wheels: America’s 10 Most Stolen Vehicles

NICBHotWheelsSocialDES PLAINES, Ill., Aug. 18, 2014 — The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released its annual Hot Wheels report, which identifies the 10 most stolen vehicles in the United States. The report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen in 2013.

Also in today’s release is a list of the top 25 2013 vehicle makes and models that were reported stolen in calendar year 2013.

For 2013, the most stolen vehicles* in the nation were (total thefts in parentheses):

1. Honda Accord (53,995)
2. Honda Civic (45,001)
3. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size) (27,809)
4. Ford Pickup (Full Size) (26,494)
5. Toyota Camry (14,420)
6. Dodge Pickup (Full Size) (11,347)
7. Dodge Caravan (10,911)
8. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee (9,272)
9. Toyota Corolla (9,010)
10. Nissan Altima (8,892)

Read the full press release.

NICB Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Hot Spots Vehicle Theft Report

California Is Hotter Than Ever With Nine of 10 Top Spots

NICBTimelineBlogDes Plaines, IL—Since 1984, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has published annual reports—known today as Hot Spots—that examine vehicle theft at the national and local level. NICB was originally established in 1912 as the Automobile Protective and Information Bureau and the company focused exclusively on recovering stolen motor vehicles that were insured by its 11 member insurance companies.

Name changes and mission expansion over the years evolved into today’s NICB—with over 1,100 member insurance companies. Although recovering stolen vehicles remains a central function at NICB, our special agents, investigative assistants, intelligence analysts, trainers, government and public affairs personnel are equally focused on other pervasive fraud schemes, particularly within the medical and commercial environments.

Read more.

NICB Names 10 Most-Stolen SUVs/CUVs

Ford Models Hold First, Second and Third Place

DES PLAINES, Ill., June 16, 2014 – The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released a new report that examines thefts of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) reported stolen between Jan. 1, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2013. The data was further refined with thefts of 2011, 2012 and 2013 model year vehicles only. Using those parameters, a total of 21,711 SUVs/CUVs were reported stolen during the period.

SUVTheftsThe top five makes and models stolen during the period were: Ford Escape (1,421), Ford Edge (1,140), Ford Explorer (958), Jeep Grand Cherokee (912) and the Kia Sorento (725). In terms of class, compact CUVs experienced the most thefts with 6,981. Large CUVs were next with 3,206, followed by mid-sized CUVs (3,204), large SUVs (2,902) and premium CUVs (2,394).

The top five states for SUV/CUV thefts were California (3,531), Florida (1,897), Michigan (1,834), Texas (1,686) and New York (1,577).

 

Read the full press release.

Super Good – The Epic Fraud Fighter

SuperGoodFraudImageIf fighting fraud were made into a comic book, it might look something like this. An injustice, such as vehicle theft, has occurred. The victim calls out for help. In the near distance, the good guys come to save the day. All is set right and ends well in the world – in theory.

In reality, despite their extraordinary dedication and commitment, even fraud fighters sometimes get the blues. In the ongoing saga of fighting fraud, the “good guys” of this epic tale are fraud fighters and those of us who stand up to villains. Villains are those who participate in and perpetrate fraud schemes. But unlike Superman, The Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman or other famed heroes, our powers, more suitably deemed abilities, aren’t extraordinary at all or the result of some scientific mishap or cosmic occurrence. Rather, they are earned responsibilities undertaken as a result of what each of us embraces and upholds.

Some days we win, and some days we lose. By win, I mean that we stop criminals from being able to further victimize the public. And by lose, I mean when the criminals are able to continue to perpetrate more fraudulent schemes. Sometimes we make headlines for taking down criminal enterprises and other illegal operations. And sometimes, the good that we do goes completely unnoticed or acknowledged by the public. Dare I say fraud fighters are sometimes even viewed as the villains or vilified for their efforts? It’s all part of the landscape. But sometimes, even the most ardent fraud fighter has probably asked himself or herself if it’s ever enough. Will this battle ever end? Why do the schemes and crimes just continue to become more and more abysmal and shocking?

Fraud isn’t just about padding a claim to get additional funds from an insurer. It’s also about people who are senselessly injured or killed by criminals staging vehicle accidents. It’s about residents of a community or employees of a company who suffer the consequences from an act of arson. It’s about the person who loses their life when a criminal purposely causes them harm to collect on a life insurance policy. The list of heinous schemes goes on and on. And the more battles that a fraud fighter encounters, the more disheartening and appalling the scenarios and schemes will inevitably become.
It would be trite to end this story with a cliché comic book expression such as “And as the public sleeps for the night, they can rest easy knowing that their heroes keep a watchful eye.” That can never be the case as long as opportunists and greed abound. They are at the root of fraud. But all is not lost. Just as new villains emerge each day, so too shall new fraud fighters. It’s the person who reports fraud or suspicious activity. It’s the person who questions their provider about a procedure that seems medically unnecessary. Whatever the case, joining the fight against fraud will not entail having to wear a cape,
leaping tall buildings, or travelling faster than a speeding bullet. One need only subscribe to the belief that fraud must be defeated whenever and wherever it exists.

Watercraft Thefts Sink by 6 Percent in 2013

WaterCraftInfographicWebDES PLAINES, Ill., May 19, 2014 — With summer and boating season just around the corner, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released its latest report on watercraft theft and recoveries in the United States. The report examines watercraft* reported stolen between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2013. The report draws from data contained in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Overall, there were 5,537 watercraft thefts reported during 2013, and that is a 6 percent decrease from the 5,870 thefts reported in 2012.

The top five states for thefts in descending order were: Florida (1,310), California (628), Texas (382), Washington (208) and Georgia (182). No watercraft thefts were reported from Hawaii and the District of Columbia.

The top five types of watercraft stolen in 2013 were in identical order to last year’s report. In first place was the “Jet Ski” category, which recorded 1,215 thefts. It was followed by, in descending order, runabout (871), utility (363), cruiser (214) and sailboat (44).

Read the full press release.

The True Cost of Fraud

NotWorthItIn a press release recently issued by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office of Seth Williams, 22 people have been charged and arrested for their alleged involvement in a seven year scheme that used staged slip and fall accidents to defraud more than 21 insurance companies. The DA’s Insurance Fraud Unit is reportedly in the process of arresting an additional 24 people involved in the conspiracy.

The Grand Jury Investigation mounted in a multitude of charges encompassing Corrupt Organizations, Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud, False Reports to Law Enforcement, Theft by Deception, and more. Those facing charges are alleged to be runners and claimants. Andrew Gaber, the attorney allegedly at the helm of this operation, however, won’t stand trial for his alleged crimes. He recently committed suicide.

The reported suicide of Gaber provides another tragic reminder about the true cost of fraud. Beyond the alleged $400,000 that the participants defrauded the insurance companies, there is the loss of life and prison time. The runners in the alleged scheme were reportedly paid between $100 to $500 cash for bringing in or referring a claim. The claimants reportedly received cash settlements after Gaber’s 40 percent fee, medical bills and any liens were deducted. If convicted for their alleged felonies and misdemeanors, they could face sentences ranging from one to 20 years on each count.

While there is a very long list of names associated with this alleged scheme, there is an even longer list of charges that each of these defendants now face. Will any of these defendants potentially facing prison time now stop to consider whether or not their insurance crimes were worth the cost? By no means is this a sympathy piece for those allegedly involved in the scheme. Rather, it’s yet another attempt to drive home the message that “It’s not worth it,” and to put the true cost of fraud into perspective for those who participate or may become involved in fraud schemes.

The NICB, along with its member companies, law enforcement partners, and other representatives, is part of a national joint effort to detect and defeat fraud wherever it exists. Tweet #fightfraud and connect with us on our social channels to join the ongoing fight to combat fraud.

NICB members and all readers are reminded that individuals arrested or indicted should be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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NICB: Where Storms Hit Fraud Often Follows

For Unsolicited Repairs, If You Didn’t Request It — Reject It

Disaster-Brochure-CoverDES PLAINES, Ill., April 16, 2014 — As the traditional storm season approaches, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and its nearly 1,100 member insurance companies are warning consumers to ensure that they have a disaster plan. By taking precautionary steps to ensure their personal safety, as well as to protect their property, people can greatly reduce the risk of injury. Having food and water sufficient for your family’s needs for at least three days is recommended, as is having a battery-powered or hand-crank weather radio.

While personal survival from a storm or other natural disaster is paramount, consideration must also be given to surviving one financially if your home is damaged or destroyed, and that is most effectively provided through insurance. However, many times disaster victims fall prey to predatory and fraudulent repair scams perpetrated by individuals looking for a fast buck, usually at a victim’s expense.

Read the full press release.

Watch the video.

Florida’s No-Fault Reform: Trending in the Right Direction

After Leading the Nation with Suspicious PIP Claims, Florida Sees a Decline

Florida PIP ReformThe National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has released a new report revealing a decline in Florida’s personal injury protection (PIP) questionable claims (QCs). In 2013, Florida PIP QCs declined by 7.6 percent from 2012. Meanwhile, for the period 2010 through 2013, Florida staged accident QCs decreased by 61.82 percent.

Tighter legislation, enhanced public awareness and a coordinated law enforcement response appear to be having the intended effect on PIP fraud in Florida.

We are encouraged by the decline in questionable claims that we’ve seen recently, but by no means are we declaring victory in Florida,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “Florida remains a hotbed for fraudulent activity, and we can’t afford to ease up for a moment in our fight against those who would abuse the system and burden Florida consumers.”

Visit the NICB Newsroom to read the full press release.

All Aboard: The Significance of a HIN

It’s January. Right now, most of the country is hunkered down by the snow and blistering cold. For most of us in the colder regions of the country, warm weather may seem like the distant future. But regardless of where you reside, if you enjoy outdoor activities on the water, there’s something you need to keep in mind.

BoatShow1Recently, I joined colleagues from the NICB’s Manufacturers Information Group at the Boat, Sports & RV Show at McCormick Place in Chicago. The annual event is billed as a one-stop marketplace and provides outdoor enthusiasts and dreamers alike an opportunity to see the latest and greatest offerings. Prices run the gamut from a few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand, or over $1 million. Other watercrafts such as kayaks or Jet Skis offer an even lower price point.

But why is the NICB concerned about boats and other watercrafts, you might ask? Because, like many other investments and property, they may be targets for thieves and fraudulent schemes.

While the typical visitor may have been touring the boats in search of deals and features, we toured them in search of HINs (Hull Identification Numbers). Similar to automobiles, boats also have identification numbers placed on them by their manufacturers. These HINs contain characters and numbers, information that assists law enforcement in recovering stolen boats. Since August of 1972, every marine vessel that is made or imported for sale in the U.S. is required to have a HIN. We wanted to see where and how these HINs were placed, not for aesthetic reasons, but rather to assess how easily thieves might possibly remove or alter them.

A 2013 report by the NICB indicated that there were 5,780 watercraft thefts reported in 2012. That equates to about 16 thefts per day with the spring and summer months having the most active periods for thefts. So what, if anything, can be done to help guard against theft and fraud schemes?

The NICB and NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association) have partnered to create a boat database to enhance the efforts of the United States Coast Guard, law enforcement and NICB personnel to identify thefts and related fraudulent schemes.
Currently, the database contains over 661,000 boat records received directly from the boat manufacturers. Data collected include: year of manufacture; hull identification number (HIN); brand; model; length overall; hull material; propulsion type; fuel type; and vessel type. For investigative assistance, NICB Member Companies and law enforcement partners are encouraged to contact the NICB’s Investigative Assistance Group at 1-800-447-6282 x7002 or 847-544-7002.

For consumers, whether you spend $1,000 or several hundred thousand for your boat, it’s more than just a recreational craft. It’s an investment. Like any other investment, you need to protect it from theft. For more information on how to protect your boat, the NICB offers these helpful tips and video.

NICB Employees Giving Back to the Community

PantryDonationCFood pantries are vital resources for countless families and individuals who have been impacted by a challenging economy or struggle with poverty. A special thank you is extended to NICB employees whose generous donations of canned goods and other food items help to combat hunger.

Numerous NICB employees volunteer their time and actively support many charitable organizations throughout the year. It’s no wonder then that some HQ employees became involved with the local Self Help Closet and Food Pantry here in Des Plaines which reportedly serves on average about 1,000 persons per month.

The food box to help the Des Plaines Self-Help Closet and Pantry first showed up in the NICB lunchroom around 2009. It was around the time the economy wasn’t fairing well, and the food pantry donations were slowing down. We wanted to help the community we were fortunate to be working in by giving back! It is gratifying to see our donations put to good use immediately.” Anna K., NICB senior tactical analyst

I’m very happy to bring the food items to the pantry on behalf of NICB, as it gives me the feeling of “pitching” in as a team to assist those who are less fortunate.” Donna W.,NICB  training associate

Thank you Anna, Donna, and all who have provided their support over the years.