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.

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Multiple Arrests Made in Theft of Construction Equipment

Seven people have been arrested after an investigation into the alleged theft of several pieces equipment and authorities say that more arrests are possible. Authorities recovered nine skid-steer loaders, two backhoes, a mini excavator, multiple all terrain vehicles, a compact tractor with implements, a large construction excavator and multiple trailers.

The stolen items were brought to Shelby County from Hancock, Hendricks, Hamilton, Marion, Johnson, Monroe and Rush counties from 2008 to 2015 according to authorities.

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Crime Spree Terrorizes NICB Headquarters

The following report is a spoof

DES PLAINES, IL – April 28, 2016 – A rash of burglaries at the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) headquarters in Des Plaines, Illinois has employees and management on high alert. Today, the not-for-profit organization pressed on with their annual “Take Your Kid To Work Day” despite the threat of crime sprees in various departments.

The theme for today’s event was “Law Enforcement” and newly released footage from the company’s headquarters proves that NICB will continue to combat crime and fraud.

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.

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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.

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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.

Insurance Fraud Headlines for May 5, 2015

Here are the top insurance fraud stories for today:

Ice Bucket Challenge

File Photo

* Officer charged with disability fraud after Ice Bucket Challenge video (LA Times)

* Car thefts are down, but pros find new tactics (USA TODAY)

* Man Convicted for Insurance Fraud (Command Investigations)

* Woman accused of insurance fraud in building fire (Your Daily Journal)

 

Man Allegedly Buys Vehicles with Stolen ID’s and Posts to Social Media

In this edition we take a look at a suburban Dallas man who allegedly purchased vehicles with stolen identities and then posted the vehicles on social media. NICB was able to identify the suspect and provided information to law enforcement. As a result six vehicles were recovered and the suspect was arrested.

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Recycling Plant Raided as Chicago Police Investigate Stolen Catalytic Converters

Police from several towns in the Chicago area raided a recycling plant on the West Side Wednesday. The result of their investigation discovered hundreds of expensive catalytic converters believed to be allegedly stolen from cars and trucks.

A sign outside Gomez Recycling warns they “don’t buy illegal scrap”, but the investigation suggested otherwise. The joint investigation includes police from suburban Schaumburg as well as the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Video courtesy of ABC7 Chicago.

Fraud Files: Deadly Theft Ring

FraudFilesDeadlyTheftRingIn this edition of Fraud Files we take a look at a multi-jurisdictional task force in Missouri that had been investigating multiple vehicle thefts near the Franklin and Jefferson county line.

Officers were going to make an arrest in a garage, near Lonedell, Missouri, when a vehicle with three people inside charged at the officers. The officers then opened fire on the vehicle, striking two men inside and killing one of them.

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