Fraud Files: Arizona Man Files Over 110 Fraudulent Claims in Two Years

In this edition of Fraud Files we focus on an Arizona man who was arrested and charged with allegedly filing over 110 fraudulent insurance claims over a two-year span. Marcel Deweaver was charged with allegations of fraud schemes, theft, insurance fraud and identity theft and is awaiting trial.

To view more episodes of Fraud Files click here.

Fraud Files: Datsun Recovered After 29 Years

For 29 years the car was stashed in a storage facility gathering dust. That was until the storage fees stopped coming in and NICB was asked to investigate. What we discovered was a tale of a stolen vehicle, paid insurance claims and alleged murder.

To view more episodes of Fraud Files click here.

NICB Urges Illinois Governor to Sign Measure Aimed at Towing Fraud

vintage-tow-wrecker-pick-up-truck_G1Q8XPUO_LThe National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) urges Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to sign into law Senate Bill 2261 to help protect consumers from the rampant towing fraud that has long plagued the state.

The bill, which has passed both the House and Senate, was supported by NICB, the Illinois Insurance Association and others.

If signed by the Governor, it would create a Statewide Relocation Towing Licensure Commission — a task force that will work over the next year to fully examine the towing laws in the state and report back to the legislature. The commission would have representation from the auto insurance industry in addition to state lawmakers, the towing industry and law enforcement.

In addition SB 2261:

  • Makes it a class 4 felony for a tower to illegally solicit business at an accident scene; and
  • Allows a vehicle owner or the owner’s insurer to file suit against a tower that violates the accident scene solicitation section, including recovery of all attorney fees and court costs.

“This is a major step forward as we attempt to put limitations on the rogue tow operators that have plagued many areas of the state, especially the Chicago area,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “Motorists should not be subject to predatory towing practices that result in outrageous charges and tactics, such as holding cars hostage in salvage yards until the owner or their insurance company pay what amounts to a ransom to get the vehicle returned.”

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword “fraud” to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app on your iPhone or Android device.

Two Stolen Vehicles Valued at $96,000 Recovered in Michigan

In this edition of Fraud Files we take a look at the recovery of a 2016 Chevrolet Corvette and a 2015 Ford F-150 with a total value of $96,000.

StolenCorvette

This 2016 Chevrolet Corvette was recovered at the scene

A Michigan man was arrested and charged with allegedly using false identification to purchase the vehicles from dealerships and financing them using stolen identities. Recovered at the scene were a 2016 Chevrolet Corvette with a value of over $63,000 as well as a 2015 Ford F-150 with a value of over $33,000. Both vehicles had theft claims on them.

The subject was arrested and charged in a nine count felony complaint and was also charged as a habitual offender. The National Insurance Crime Bureau assisted in the investigation.

“Oops!…I Did It Again!”

britney-spears-oops-i-did-it-again-fanmadeNo, Britney Spears’ mega-hit from 2000 wasn’t about slip-and-fall insurance schemes, but it could have been!

Why? Because if a fraudster is successful in getting one or two of these types of claims paid, he or she typically won’t stop there. Criminals tend to stick with what works – and if something works, they do it over and over and over. Slip-and-fall rings can be found almost everywhere across the nation, with participants going from location to location to stage falls – “accidents” that are often “witnessed” by another member of the group, who is always more than eager to support the claimant’s version of events.

If your company is a member of the National Insurance Crime Bureau, our FraudSmart “Slip and Fall Claims” course can help your staff become better prepared to review, analyze and handle these claims. Participants will learn the five common indicators of questionable slip-and-fall claims and list the important elements that need to be documented and authenticated to determine the validity of the claim.

There is no additional cost to NICB members for this class. To schedule this or any other FraudSmart class at your company, log into the NICB Website at www.NICB.org with your username and password, select Training, then FraudSmart and contact the training director assigned to your state.

To learn more about NICB, visit www.NICB.org.

Police in Utah Find Success Using License Plate Readers

In this edition of Fraud Files we dive into the effectiveness of the License Plate Reader (LPR) program in the state of Utah. This statewide vehicle theft program has resulted in hundreds of arrests and recoveries of almost 1,400 stolen member company vehicles.

To view more editions of Fraud Files click here.

Texas Storm Victims Warned About Post-Disaster Scams

DES PLAINES, Ill., Jan. 7, 2016 –  As Texas recovers from recent storms, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is working with law enforcement agencies, the Texas Department of Insurance and insurance companies to warn victims about post-disaster rebuilding scams.

TexasTornado1

Tornado damage in Rowlett, TX

After a disaster, contractors will often go door-to-door in neighborhoods that have sustained damage to offer clean up and/or construction and repair services.  Most of these people are reputable, but many are not.  The dishonest ones may execute schemes to defraud innocent victims.  One common scheme is to pocket the payment and never show up for the job, or never complete a job that was started.  Another scheme is to use inferior materials and perform shoddy work that is not up to code in order to pocket more profit.

Almost all of these scams are unsolicited-they begin with a visit from a contractor who seeks to help victims rebuild.  That is why we say, “If you didn’t request it, reject it.”  If you think you might have damage from a storm, call your insurance company first.  Your insurance company will honor its policy so there is no need to rush into an agreement with a contractor who solicits your repair work-especially when you did not request it.

TexasTornadoRooferUnlike other states, Texas does not require a license for a roofing contractor nor is one required for solicitation. Local jurisdictions, however, may impose certain requirements before contractors can solicit work within their boundaries. One example is the City of Garland that requires anyone soliciting for the purpose of selling or offering to sell goods or services, must first retain a solicitation permit through the Garland Police Department.

NICB was on site in the disaster area this week as law enforcement and Department of Insurance officials were on the lookout for potential fraud.

“Fraud is an unfortunate reality in post-disaster environments,” said NICB President and CEO Wehrle. “As the recovery in Texas gets underway, fraudsters are already converging on the affected areas in order to scam disaster victims out of their money while promising to do repairs. The last thing victims of disaster need is to be victimized again.”

NICB suggests you consider these tips before hiring a contractor:

· Get more than one estimate

· Get everything in writing.  Cost, work to be done, time schedules, guarantees, payment schedules and other expectations should be detailed

· Demand references and check them out

· Ask to see the salesperson’s driver’s license and write down the license number and their vehicle’s license plate number

· Never sign a contract with blanks; unacceptable terms can be added later

· Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is finished and ensure reconstruction is up to current code

· Make sure you review and understand all documents sent to your insurance carrier

· Never let a contractor pressure you into hiring them

· Never let a contractor interpret the insurance policy language

· Never let a contractor discourage you from contacting your insurance company

Another potential scam arising from the storms are flood vehicle resales. Buying a flood vehicle is not illegal, but misrepresenting a flood-damaged vehicle as one that is not could be a crime exposing the seller to potential criminal charges. More importantly, unknowingly buying a flood-damaged vehicle may put you and your family in physical and financial danger. A vehicle’s electronic systems are often destroyed from prolonged exposure to water rendering many of its safety features inoperable.

In these situations, efforts to recover your money from the seller are seldom successful since these scam artists rarely use legitimate identifying and contact information. In many cases, buyers are left with a useless vehicle and a loan that they still must repay.

For free consumer access to the vehicle salvage records of participating NICB member insurance companies who collectively provide 88 percent of the auto insurance in force today, access NICB’s VINCheck.

Consumer Resources

· For a free brochure with tips to avoid post-disaster fraud, click here.

· For useful checklists, including how to spot flood and salvage vehicle scams and post-disaster contractor repair schemes, click here.

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword “fraud” to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app on your iPhone or Android device.

NICB News: Fall 2015 – The Aftermath of the California Wildfires

In this edition of NICB News we feature the devastation of the wildfires in northern California, a look back at the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the latest Hot Wheels report and more.

To view previous episodes of NICB News click here.

NICB and Hurricane Katrina: A 10-Year Retrospective Part Two

CarpenterKatrinaQuoteEach day this week the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) will release segments of a five-part documentary video that provides first-hand recollections of NICB employees and law enforcement personnel as they reflect on their roles in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Recognizing the unprecedented number of vehicles that were flooded or otherwise damaged from Katrina, NICB dispatched teams to the region and established the Gulf Coast Task Force (GCTF) which operated from two locations: Baton Rouge, La. and Mobile, Ala. Over the next several months, NICB personnel from all over the United States were rotated through the GCTF where they worked side-by-side with state and local law enforcement officers in identifying and cataloging the thousands of damaged vehicles that littered every part of New Orleans and Mobile—and most points in between—in Nature’s random display of destruction.

Today’s video segment illustrates how NICB’s established operations centers and got down to work.

Video release schedule:

Monday: Part 1: Multistate Devastation

Tuesday, Part 2: NICB’s Initial Response

Wednesday, Part 3: Vehicle Identification

Thursday, Part 4: Coast to Coast Impact

Friday, Part 5: Birth of VINCheck