The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is proud to announce national recognition as one of the Healthiest Companies in America by Interactive Health, a national leader known for its personalized wellness solutions. NICB is one of 156 companies across the country being recognized for helping employees make significant and sometimes life-saving changes to improve their health. This is the second year NICB has won the award.
With the help of strategic and flexible wellness initiatives, the Healthiest Companies in America recipients have accomplished tremendous success, achieving participation rates in excess of 70 percent and a low-risk health score for their total population, based on rigorous and clinically sound health evaluations.
“This is the 10th year we’re honoring the Healthiest Companies in America and it continues to inspire us how successful the winning companies are in building and sustaining employee engagement and inspiring positive health outcomes,” said Interactive Health President and CEO Cathy Kenworthy. “It is possible to improve health through the right workplace initiatives, and it is smart business. In addition to this year’s 156 winners, there are dozens more that are extremely close to obtaining the designation, or have met the criteria in the past, set an even higher bar for their program, and will meet that bar again in the future. We looking forward to inviting more companies into the winner’s circle next year as our technology and service enhancements make it even more possible for organizations to improve employee health.”
Participants in Interactive Health’s wellness program receive a thorough health evaluation to identify risk and learn about their health status. Through a combination of rapid outreach, connection to personal physicians and tailored resources, a personalized course of action is delivered to the participant resulting in improved or maintained health, leading NICB to this achievement.
The device obtained by NICB was purchased via a third-party security expert from an overseas company. It was developed by engineers in an effort to provide manufacturers and other anti-theft organizations the ability to test the vulnerability of various vehicles systems. Called a “Relay Attack” unit, this particular model only works on cars and trucks that use a keyless remote and a push-button ignition.
In a series of unscientific tests at different locations over a two-week period, 35 different makes and models of cars, SUVs, minivans and a pickup truck were tested. We partnered with NICB member company CarMax, because they are the nation’s largest used car retailer and have nearly every make and model in their inventory. Tests were also done at a new car dealership, an independent used car dealer, at an auto auction and on NICB employee vehicles and ones owned by private individuals.
The vehicles were tested to see if the device could:
* open the door
* start the vehicle
* drive it away
* turn off and restart the engine without the original fob present
NICB was able to open 54% of the vehicles that were tested.
The NICB was able to open 19 (54 percent) of the vehicles and start and drive away 18 (51 percent) of them. Of the 18 that were started, after driving them away and turning off the ignition, the device was used to restart 12 (34 percent) of the vehicles.
NICB says there are a number of different devices believed to be offered for sale to thieves. Some use different technology and may work on different make and models and ignition systems. More expensive models may have a greater range and better capabilities for opening and starting a vehicle.
“We’ve now seen for ourselves that these devices work,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “Maybe they don’t work on all makes and models, but certainly on enough that car thieves can target and steal them with relative ease. And the scary part is that there’s no warning or explanation for the owner. Unless someone catches the crime on a security camera, there’s no way for the owner or the police to really know what happened. Many times, they think the vehicle has been towed.”
Wehrle says it’s important for law enforcement officers to be aware of this threat and be on the lookout for thieves who may be using the technology.
According to NICB’s Chief Operating Officer Jim Schweitzer, who oversees all NICB investigations, vehicle manufacturers must continue their efforts to counter the attacks on anti-theft technology.
“Vehicles are a valuable commodity and thieves will continue to wage a tug of war with the manufacturers to find a way to steal them,” said Schweitzer. “Anti-theft technology has been a major factor in reducing the number of thefts over the past 25 years. The manufacturers have made tremendous strides with their technology, but now they have to adapt and develop countermeasures as threats like this surface.”
A look at the “mystery device” obtained by NICB.
While there may not be an effective way of preventing this kind of theft at this time, NICB advises drivers to always lock their vehicles and take the remote fob or keys with them. Drivers should also be on the lookout for suspicious persons or activity and alert law enforcement rather than confronting a possible thief.
It’s also a good idea to never invite a break-in by leaving valuables in plain sight. And once thieves get inside, they can easily steal a garage door opener and valuable papers such as the vehicle registration that could lead them to your home. So take the garage door opener with you and take a picture of your registration on your cell phone rather than keeping it in the glove compartment.
Last year, a vehicle was reported stolen once every 45 seconds in the United States. And one out of every eight thefts was a freebie for the thief. There was a theft every six and one-half minutes where the driver left the keys or FOB inside.
It’s a growing problem according to the latest report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The 57,096 thefts in 2015 amounted to a 22 percent increase over the previous year. Over the past three years, this kind of theft grew by 31 percent.
Since many people do not admit to leaving their car unlocked with the keys or FOB inside, the actual numbers of thefts with the keys left in vehicles may be considerably higher than the report indicates.
“Anti-theft technology has had a tremendous impact on reducing thefts over the past 25 years, but if you don’t lock it up, it’s not going to help,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “Complacency can lead to a huge financial loss and inconvenience for the vehicle owner. Leaving a vehicle unlocked or with the key or FOB inside gives a thief the opportunity to take not only the car, but also any possessions inside. It can also provide access to your personal information if the registration is left in the glove compartment.
“We have reports from our law enforcement partners that car thieves have stolen the car, driven it to the residence and burglarized the home before the owner even knew the vehicle was missing.”
NICB advises drivers to:
Lock the vehicle, set the alarm and take all keys or FOBS.
Do not leave the garage door opener in the vehicle.
Take a picture of your registration on your cell phone and do not leave the registration or other papers with personal information in the vehicle.
Never leave a car unlocked and running to warm it up or while stopping for a quick cup of coffee. It only takes a moment for the opportunistic thief to jump inside and drive off.
For the years 2013 through 2015, a total of 147,434 were reported stolen with the keys left in the vehicle. In 2013, there were 43,643 thefts; 46,695 thefts in 2014 and 57,096 in 2015. From 2013 to 2015, the increase was 31 percent.
The top five states that posted the most vehicle thefts with keys during this reporting period were California (22,580), Texas (11,003), Florida (9,952), Ohio (8,623) and Nevada (8,073). The top five core-based statistical areas (CBSA) were Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV (7,815), Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI (4,380), Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA (4,118), Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL, (3,847) and Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD (3,365).
One state—Hawaii—had a perfect record. Not a single report of a vehicle theft with keys.
Looking at day-of-week data, Saturday saw the most thefts with (22,081) followed by Monday (21,851) and Friday (21,652).
The full report can be viewed and downloaded here. The full dataset is here. Download an infographic here.
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.
The car, one of 1,743 of that model made in 1981, was stolen in 1987 from Newport Beach, Calif., while on consignment at a dealership. The vehicle identification number (VIN) was later switched to the VIN of a 1982 Ferrari that had already been exported to Norway in 2005. When the vehicle arrived at the port, it was headed from Texas to Poland.
Working with Customs and Border Protection, the California Highway Patrol and Ferrari representatives, NICB was able to determine the true identity of the car and to recover the original theft report filed with Newport Beach Police in 1987. NICB records showed only 12 stolen red Ferraris still unrecovered at this time.
The following quote is the write-up from the judges at Ragan’s Communications.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau promotes its activities with compelling, entertaining and (most important) share-worthy videos. Only three people work on these videos: One staff member handles research, writing, and interview scheduling; another handles graphics; and a third is the on-screen face and voice of the organization. Together, this bare-bones team has produced videos you can’t stop watching. These videos tell the story of how the Crime Bureau has helped insured individuals recovering from Hurricane Katrina avoid car sales scams on CraigsList, and much more. One video tells the tale of returning a stolen motorcycle to its owner years after its theft. Viewers are entertained while they learn about Crime Bureau innovations, such as the Vehicle Identification Number Check used to help identify owners of cars swept up in Katrina.
Honorable mentions in this category
Chartway Federal Credit Union
WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease
Chapman University Office of Communications and Media Relations
The El Paso Police Department’s Auto Theft Task Force, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Texas Department of Public Safety, Homeland Security Investigations and the National Insurance Crime Bureau, conducted “Operation Paint Job.” The operation sting looked into body shops suspected of committing insurance fraud.
Ten employees have been arrested on suspicion of insurance fraud. The 22-month investigation revealed employees at some body shops were intentionally damaging vehicles to file insurance claims. In some instances accidents were staged.
NICB Senior Special Agent Scott Wagner is interviewed by KING5 about flooded vehicles in the northwest region. The Washington Department of Licensing is warning consumers about a flood vehicles damaged in the Texas and South Carolina floods that could get be repaired and then sold across the state.