In this edition of NICB News we take a look at the top cities and vehicles that were stolen in 2016, boat and motorcycle theft and we check in on the latest trends at our recent Vehicle Finance Fraud Conference.
In observance of National Auto Theft Prevention Month, Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT) is launching a statewide public awareness campaign, reminding drivers about the importance of not making themselves an easy target for car thieves. The “Lockdown Your Car” campaign informs the public about the domino effect that often occurs when a car is left unlocked.
(The Bulletin) – Norwich man sentenced for his role in car insurance fraud scheme
NEW HAVEN — A Norwich man was sentenced Friday in federal court to 100 days in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his role in an insurance fraud scheme.
Frandy Dugue, 40, known as Jimmy, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer in New Haven.
According to court documents and statements made in court, between April 2011 and April 2014, Dugue and others conspired to stage approximately 50 car crashes in Eastern Connecticut for the purpose of defrauding automobile insurance companies.
(USAgNet) – Following Severe Weather, Beware of Scams
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warned consumers to beware of scams following the severe weather that hit Ohio this past week.
“Bad weather, unfortunately, can lead to scams,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Some con artists will travel to storm-damaged communities, go door to door offering immediate work, and then leave after taking someone’s money. Another risk, with all the flooding we’ve had, is for flood-damaged cars to eventually make their way to the market. We just warn people to be careful. Scams are out there, but prevention can go a long way.”
A man who was in a rollover car crash in January 2016 is accused of trying to get extra insurance money by pretending tools were stolen from his car.
A criminal complaint filed July 7 against Dakotah Gries, 24, of Fargo, alleges he submitted a fake receipt to State Farm in the hopes of getting paid for tools he said were stolen, but which he had never owned.
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.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) 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 2016.
Included with today’s release is a list of the top 25 2016 vehicle makes and models that were reported stolen in calendar year 2016.
(Cars.com) – Do You Drive One of the Most Stolen Cars?
At this point, owners of 20-year-old Honda Accords must be getting sick of “Have you checked the garage recently?” jokes. According to a just-released report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Honda Accord topped the list of most stolen vehicles for the ninth year in a row — with the 1997 model year of the perennial best-seller proving most popular among theives.
DES PLAINES, Ill. – 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 2016.
Included with today’s release is a list of the top 25 2016 vehicle makes and models that were reported stolen in calendar year 2016.
While Honda Accords and Civics dominate this annual list, they are older, pre-“smart key” production models. Since the introduction of smart keys and other anti-theft technology, Honda thefts have fallen precipitously. As the list of top 25 most stolen 2016 model year vehicles shows, there were only 493 thefts of Accords last year.
Technology is working, but complacency can defeat it. While thefts are down dramatically since their all-time high in 1992, thousands of vehicles continue to be stolen each year because owners leave their keys or fobs in the vehicles and that invites theft.
For 2016, the most stolen vehicles* in the nation were:
See the national report here, the state report here, an infographic here and video here.
The following are the top 10 2016 model year vehicles stolen during calendar year 2016:
“The increase in vehicle thefts over the past two years should be a reminder that drivers must do their part to protect their vehicles,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “Anti-theft systems in newer model cars and trucks are excellent, but they don’t work if you don’t use them. Far too many thefts occur because the vehicle is left unlocked and the key or fob is inside. Taking the time to lock it up every time you leave it can save a whole lot of headache and expense in the long run.”
Vehicle theft is a severe economic hardship for its victims—especially if a vehicle is uninsured. That is why NICB continues to advise all drivers to review our four “Layers of Protection”:
Common Sense: Lock your car and take your keys. It’s simple enough, but many thefts occur because owners make it easy for thieves to steal their cars.
Warning Device: Having and using a visible or audible warning device is another item that can ensure that your car remains where you left it.
Immobilizing Device: Generally speaking, if your vehicle can’t be started, it can’t be stolen. “Kill” switches, fuel cut-offs and smart keys are among the devices that are extremely effective.
Tracking Device: A tracking device emits a signal to the police or to a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ “telematics,” which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.
Considering a used vehicle purchase? Check out VINCheckSM, a free vehicle history service for consumers. Since 2005, NICB has offered this limited service made possible by its participating member companies. Check it out at: www.nicb.org/vincheck.
*This report reflects stolen vehicle data contained in NCIC and present in the “NCIC mirror image” when accessed by NICB on March 23, 2017. NCIC records may contain errors based on inaccurate entries submitted by reporting agencies. Full size pickups include half ton and larger capacity models for all makes.
(MSN) – These are the ‘hot spots’ for car thefts in the USA
When one thinks of Albuquerque, N.M. images of the bordering Sandia mountains, the legendary Rio Grande river that flows through the city, and an abundance of green chile peppers immediately come to mind. But there’s one more distinguishing feature that the residents of this picturesque southwestern city might not be as proud of.
A post on the Waterbury Police Department’s Facebook page is revving up reaction from local motorcycle riders. With more than 7,000 views, it’s getting a lot of attention. It shows surveillance video capturing two young men checking out motorcycles in an old building on Johnson Street. Police say those men stole some of those bikes and now they need the pubic’s help trying to find them.
DES PLAINES, Ill.—The Albuquerque, N.M. metropolitan statistical area (MSA) had the highest per capita auto theft rate in 2016 according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) latest Hot Spots report.
Hot Spots examines vehicle theft data obtained from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for each of the nation’s MSAs. MSAs are designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and often include areas much larger than the cities for which they are named. For example, this year’s number one spot, the Albuquerque, N.M. MSA, includes all thefts within the entire county of Bernalillo, not just the city of Albuquerque.
After rising to number two on the Hot Spots list last year, Albuquerque was chosen as the site of NICB’s annual insurance fraud and vehicle theft summit in the fall. Local and state authorities gathered to discuss the growing vehicle theft problem and address efforts to combat the problem in 2017. NICB recently ran billboard messages in the city aimed at reducing the theft rate.
New to the top 10 this year, the metro areas of Anchorage, Alaska (No. 6) and Billings, Mont. (No. 10). As a population-based survey, an area with a much smaller population and a moderate number of thefts can—and often does—have a higher theft rate than an area with a much more significant vehicle theft problem and a larger population to absorb it. Which is how Billings, with 877 thefts, places 10th while Los Angeles, with 60,670 thefts places 35th.
For 2016, the 10 MSAs with the highest vehicle theft rates were: (thefts in parentheses)
Each year the FBI releases preliminary Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data for the previous year’s January-June time frame. When the preliminary 2016 crime data was released earlier this year, vehicle theft was up 6.6 percent across the nation. That increase is reflected in today’s Hot Spots report and is expected to hold when the final UCR 2016 crime data is published in the fall.
For comparison, below is a table showing the preliminary UCR vehicle theft data, the percent change from the previous year, and the final UCR vehicle theft figure:
Overall, vehicle theft is down, dramatically, across the nation. The historic peak year for vehicle theft was 1991, with 1,661,738 reported thefts. In 2015, the total was 707,758. That is a 57.4 percent reduction since 1991.
While the final result for 2016 is expected to be higher than 2015’s number, the vehicle theft environment across the country is vastly improved from the 1990s.
But it could be much better if vehicle owners just followed simple security advice.
In a report published last October, NICB found that for the years 2013 through 2015, a total of 147,434 vehicles were reported stolen with the keys left in them—57,096 in 2015 alone. With the debut of “smart keys” in 1997 and all of the improved anti-theft technology since, it is worthless if drivers continue to leave their keys in the car or leave their vehicles running, unattended, while they make a quick stop at a convenience store.
Vehicle manufacturers, law enforcement and legislatures have been responsive to the crime of vehicle theft over the years and the results are evident. Vehicle owners must guard against complacency and remember to heed simple tips to safeguard their vehicles.
The full Hot Spots report is available at www.nicb.org. See the Hot Spots video here.
Immobilizing Device — the third layer of protection is a device which prevents thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some electronic devices have computer chips in ignition keys. Other devices inhibit the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine until a hidden switch or button is activated. Some examples are:
Tracking Device — the final layer of protection is a tracking device which emits a signal to police or a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ “telematics” which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.
DES PLAINES, Ill. — Everything is big in Texas, including hailstorms. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) said today that insurance claims for hail damage in Texas last year exceeded the previous two years combined.
Hail damage fluctuates year-to-year, but 2016 was a particularly devastating year across the country. An analysis of insurance claims from the Insurance Services Office (ISO) ClaimSearch database showed that after decreasing by 21 percent from 2014 to 2015, the number of hail claims nationwide jumped 48 percent to more than 965,000 in 2016.
Texas totaled more than four times as many hail claims as the second leading state, Colorado, and had 39 percent of all the claims filed last year.
San Antonio’s devastating hailstorms in 2016 resulted in 68,778 claims with Colorado Springs reporting 33,595.
Across the nation, most hail claims, 55 percent, were for home damage with personal auto damage representing 32 percent of all hail claims.
The report is available here. Download an infographic here.
The NICB consistently warns storm victims to be on the lookout for fraudulent roofers and contractors following a disaster.
Almost all of these scams are unsolicited—they begin with a visit from a contractor who seeks to help victims rebuild. That is why NICB recommends that “if you didn’t request it, reject it.” Before hiring any contractor, call your insurance company. 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.
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.
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.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.