25 Days of Fraud Facts: The Birth of VINCheck

Throughout the month of December, NICB will be focusing on the 25 days of Fraud Facts. These quick videos, involving insurance fraud, are about cases or stats you may not be aware of.

Day 4: The Birth of VINCheck

To view more episodes of the 25 Days of Fraud Facts click here.

Looking for a secondary VIN? NICB can help members of law enforcement

IAGroupThe National Insurance Crime Bureau’s Investigative Assistance Group (IA Group) handles all incoming calls from law enforcement agencies. Requests typically include assistance in building a VIN (vehicle identification number), helping identify stolen or burned vehicles and searching for information on individuals and/or vehicles that may have been involved in major crimes.

The IA Group can help law enforcement by providing:

  • Secondary VIN locations
  • Build-ups of partial VINs
  • Manufacturer information such as shipping and components and off-line suspect runs

We have access to information for cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers, boats and heavy equipment, and some of our VIN data goes as far back as the 1920s. We have a mirror image of NCIC and can check the status of an NCIC entry and the purged files.

IAGroup2Any law enforcement officer can call us for help at 800.447.6282, ext. 7002. You will need to provide your name, ORI code and a call-back phone number. The IA Group is available from 7am to 7pm Central Time, Monday through Friday, and can also be reached via email at IA@nicb.org.

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

Anthem Inc. Suffers Security Hack


Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Millions of individuals are at risk after one of the countries largest health insurance companies, Anthem Inc., suffered a security hack. The database that was accessed included details for roughly 80 million people, but Anthem, the second biggest insurer in the U.S., stated that this hack probably affected “tens of millions” of customers. Anthem discovered the breach in security last week.

Anthem president and CEO Joseph Swedish released a statement on a website created for more information on the attack.

“Anthem was the target of a very sophisticated external cyber attack. These attackers gained unauthorized access to Anthem’s IT system and have obtained personal information from our current and former members such as their names, birthdays, medical IDs/social security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information, including income data. Based on what we know now, there is no evidence that credit card or medical information, such as claims, test results or diagnostic codes were targeted or compromised.”

Anthem created the website, www.anthemfacts.com, where members can access information about the breach. There is also a toll-free number for current and former members to call, 877-263-7995.

CNN Money Tech Correspondent Laurie Segall offers these tips if you have been a victim of a hacking.


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.