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National Insurance Crime Bureau Teams With Experian Automotive to Fight VIN Cloning

April 18, 2007

Des Plaines and Schaumburg, Ill. — The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) announced that it has teamed with Experian Automotive, a division of global information solutions company Experian Inc., to use its AutoCheck vehicle history reporting solution to help identify and recover vehicles stolen and resold through VIN cloning scams.

VIN cloning, which involves using a vehicle identification number (VIN) from a legally owned vehicle and then reusing it on a similar, though stolen vehicle is a rising problem in the automotive market. According to the NICB, the reported number of incidents of VIN cloning in the United States has steadily risen since 2001, accounting for more than $36 million in fraudulent vehicle transactions.

“Basically what you’re looking at is identity theft for vehicles,” said Robert M. Bryant, president and CEO of NICB. “And, just as you would look to the specific, historic information on an individual to identify and verify their true identity, the same needs to be done for a vehicle.”

NICB is now working with Experian Automotive to use its AutoCheck vehicle history reports, which pull from a National Vehicle Database of more than half a billion vehicles, to check thousands of suspect VINs to identify those most likely being used in VIN cloning scams. NICB then investigates the suspect VINs with law enforcement agencies to recover the stolen vehicles. AutoCheck vehicle history reports reveal factors like concurrent registrations in a vehicle’s history that would signal a potential VIN cloning situation.

“Experian Automotive has the historic information and the expertise to use it to help our investigators and law enforcement quickly identify and recover these stolen vehicles that have false VINs,” said Bryant. “Having this information is critical to conducting more effective investigations and protecting consumers from being taken in by this scam in the future.”

When a VIN is verified as being cloned, AutoCheck will specifically flag the vehicle’s history report with a cloned designation — the first service of its kind in the industry. Additionally, Experian Automotive will work with individuals whose vehicle’s VIN has been identified as cloned to remove the false vehicle history information from their vehicle history report. NICB will also provide MCO (Manufacturer Certificate of Origin) information and Vehicle Examination records which will be integrated into the AutoCheck report, providing manufacturer verification on a vehicle’s true VIN, as well as specific information on the condition of stolen vehicles recovered by the NICB.

“Vehicle history reporting is continuing to prove itself as an invaluable resource for both education and protection,” said Scott Waldron, President of Experian Automotive. “Our partnering with NICB, its investigators and law enforcement is a great example of the variety of ways that vehicle history reporting helps consumers guard against purchasing a damaged or stolen vehicle, as well as keeps the identity of their own vehicles safe.”

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