Category Archives: Theft

NICB: Motorcycle Thefts Declined in 2018

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Motorcycles are popular with riders seeking affordable transportation options and the thrill of the open road. But they can also be attractive targets for thieves. The good news is that motorcycle thefts saw a decline in 2017 and 2018 after an uptick in the previous two years.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) annual motorcycle thefts report, in 2018 motorcycle thefts were down by six percent with a total of 41,674 motorcycles reported stolen compared with 44,268 in 2017. About 44 percent of the motorcycles stolen in 2018 were recovered.

In general, motorcycle thefts are a seasonal crime related to warmer months, with 10 percent or more of thefts from the yearly total occurring in May, June, July, August, September, and October.

According to the report the top 10 states for motorcycle thefts in 2018 were:

  • California (7,035)
  • Florida (4,279)
  • Texas (3,073)
  • New York (1,777)
  • South Carolina (1,743)
  • North Carolina (1,466)
  • Indiana (1,229)
  • Missouri (1,194)
  • Georgia (1,174) and
  • Colorado (1,109)

The top 10 cities for motorcycle thefts in 2018 were:

  • New York (1,310)
  • Los Angeles (628)
  • Miami (595)
  • Las Vegas (540)
  • San Diego (527)
  • San Francisco (520)
  • Houston (460)
  • Philadelphia (404)
  • Austin (329) and
  • San Jose (322)

The top 10 most stolen motorcycles in 2018 by manufacturer were:

  • American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (8,260 thefts)
  • Yamaha Motor Corporation (6,655)
  • American Suzuki Motor Corporation (4,882)
  • Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (4,861)
  • Harley-Davidson, Inc. (4,769)
  • Taotao Group Co. Ltd (1,851)
  • KTM Sportmotorcycle AG (780)
  • Genuine Cycle (515)
  • Ducati Motor Holding (455)
  • Kymco U.S.A., Inc. (413)

The NICB offers the following fraud and theft prevention tips:

  •  Purchase your motorcycle from reputable manufacturers or dealers. When purchasing from a private party, avoid custom or “assembled vehicle.”
  • Take the motorcycle to a local dealership for inspection before purchasing.
  • When purchasing a motorcycle from a private party, consider investing in a vehicle history report. Also, go to your local law enforcement station to make the transaction. Many law enforcement agencies have “safe areas” to complete purchases between private parties.
  • When selling your bike, don’t turn over the title until the funds (check or money order) have cleared the bank.
  • Use common sense; park in well-lit areas, lock your ignition, and remove your keys.
  • Remove the key and lock your motorcycle even if stored in a garage. You may want to invest in additional aftermarket lock(s) and even a theft-deterrent system with tracking capabilities (e.g. GPS) for your motorcycle.
  • Don’t store your title in your motorcycle’s storage compartment.
  • Place unique markings on your motorcycle and take photos of them. If your bike is stolen, you can use these markings to identify your property.

The I.I.I. has Facts & Statistics on auto theft here.

Dodge Charger tops HLDI’s list of most likely to be stolen vehicles

The Dodge Charger HEMI and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat are at the top of the Highway Loss Data Institute’s (HLDI) most-stolen vehicles list this year. Both cars have theft rates that are more than five times the average for 2016-18 models, with the same as the Infiniti Q50, a midsize luxury sedan.

HLDI released its most likely to be stolen list for 2016-2018 models today, and almost all 20 models with the highest theft rates either have big engines or are luxury vehicles or pickups.

At the top of the least stolen list is the two-wheel-drive BMW 3 series, a midsize luxury sedan. It had just one claim for whole-vehicle theft in 104,901 insured vehicle years (an insured vehicle year is one vehicle insured for one year).

The Tesla Model S and Model X are also on the least-stolen list. A 2018 HLDI report showed that electric vehicles from a variety of manufacturers have lower theft claim rates than comparable vehicles. Their low theft rate may be due to the fact that they are usually parked in garages or close to a house to be near a power supply.

The Cadillac Escalade, which previously dominated HLDI’s rankings of most-stolen vehicles, is notably absent from this year’s list. Part of the reason is that there are more large luxury SUVs for thieves to choose from but also because Cadillac added enhanced security features beginning with the 2015 model year.

“The models most likely to be stolen tend to be powerful, pricey or pickups, but vehicle theft is also a crime of opportunity,” says HLDI Senior Vice President Matt Moore. “Better security features on all vehicles would be the best way to address the problem.”

 

Counterfeit wine does not lead to property insurance payout

The importance having a clear understanding of what your insurance policy does and does not cover was highlighted last week when several trade publications picked up a story about a wine collector who was sold about $18 million worth of counterfeit wine.

The collector had a property insurance policy, and when his claim was denied he sued for breach of contract. A California trial court upheld an earlier decision that the property policy simply does not cover fraud of the kind he experienced.

The judge’s opinion stated: “The plain language of the “PERILS INSURED AGAINST” provision makes it clear that the insurer was insuring against “direct and accidental loss . . . to covered property…” That is “against any losses to the wine not against any losses to the collector’s finances or to his unrealized expectations as to the value of the wine he had purchased.”

Auto theft projected to rise for the third consecutive year

The steady decline in auto thefts which started in 1991 is largely attributable to the rise of modern keys, fobs and ignitions, and the ubiquity of statewide anti-theft taskforces. But insurers are keeping an eye on the increase in auto thefts that occurred in 2015 and 2016 and which is projected to continue in 2017, according to a recent Risk Information newsletter.

Car owners have become complacent about theft, with 56 percent of Americans reporting that they rarely or never worry that their car will be stolen. In fact, car owners are getting so relaxed about theft that thousands of vehicles are stolen each year because keys or fobs are left in the vehicle, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Thieves are also constantly devising new and sophisticated means of stealing autos. Tactics include acquiring smart keys, switching vehicle identification numbers; and using stolen identities to secure loans for expensive vehicles.

Thieves also now have access to devices which search for signals from nearby wireless key fobs and use that signal to unlock and start cars. To counteract this trend a growing market has sprung up for boxes or pouches for key fobs especially designed to block radio transmissions. You can purchase one on Amazon.

The FBI estimates that the number of motor vehicle thefts increased 7.4 percent in 2016 over the prior year. Approximately $5.9 billion was lost nationwide to motor vehicle thefts in 2016 with the average dollar loss per stolen vehicle of $7,680.

The I.I.I. has Facts and Stats on auto theft here.

Cyber Monday online safety tips

Identity theft is the biggest threat consumers face when shopping online, according to security expert Dr. Yair Levy. Before venturing online for Cyber Monday deals, here are some tips from Dr. Levy which appeared in a recent Sun Sentinel article:

  • Use a dedicated credit card for online purchases and a separate card for to pay bills, buy gas, groceries, etc. If the card is compromised, it’s easy to cancel the account.
  • When making purchases, verify a secured connection by looking for a little padlock or by making sure the Web address starts with “https://” (the “s” stands for secured).
  • Don’t use free wi-fi on your mobile device.

Phishing scams are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated, so be wary of emails or texts claiming to be from your favorite retailer. The best defense is not to click on links in a message or give out any personal information. If the message is legitimate, you can always go directly to the retailer’s website.

For more on identity theft and cybercrime, visit our Facts & Stats page.

Three-year Decline in Metal Theft Claims

Good news for insurers. Latest data points to a promising decline in the national problem of metal theft, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

In a new report, the NICB notes that in just three years the number of metal theft insurance claims has declined by over 26 percent from 14,676 in 2011 to 10,807 in 2013.

The report reviews metal theft claims from January 1, 2011, through December 31, 2013.

During this period, 41,138 insurance claims for the theft of copper, bronze, brass or aluminum were handled – of which 39,976 (97 percent) were for copper alone.

The NICB notes that when the number of metal theft insurance claims per month and monthly average copper prices are compared, the number of claims filed is found to have a statistically significant correlation with the price of copper.

Tightening controls on the sale of scrap metal have had a positive impact in local communities, the NICB says.

Ohio still ranks first of all states generating 4,144 metal theft claims in 2013, followed by Texas (2,827), California (2,489), Pennsylvania (2,345) and Georgia (2,067).

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA (1,725 claims) was the leading statistical area generating the most metal theft claims.

More on the link between copper prices and incidents of metal theft in this NICB video.

NICB: Heavy Equipment Theft a Costly Crime for Insurers

As mom to two young boys I’ve had to become familiar with construction vehicle terminology, such as backhoes, skid steers and excavators. So it’s with interest I read the latest heavy equipment theft report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

The report, co-produced with the National Equipment Register (NER), analyzes heavy equipment theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and breaks out the data by theft state, theft city, theft month, equipment manufacturer, equipment style (type) and year of manufacture.

Here are some of the key takeaways of the 2012 NICB Heavy Equipment Theft report:

— A total of 10,925 heavy equipment thefts were reported to law enforcement in 2012, down 7 percent from the 11,705 reported in 2011. Since 2008, there has been an overall 19 percent reduction in heavy equipment thefts.

— The three most stolen heavy equipment items in 2012 were: mowers (riding or garden tractor: 5,363); loaders (skid steer, wheeled: 1,943); tractors (wheeled or tracked: 1,459).

— Heavy equipment manufactured by John Deere was the number one theft target in 2012, followed by Kubota Tractor Corp, Bobcat, Caterpillar and Toro.

— The top three states for heavy equipment thefts in 2012? Texas ranked first with 1,401 reported thefts, followed by North Carolina with 1,037 thefts, and Florida with 890 thefts.

The report also looks into heavy equipment recoveries in 2012 and here comes the sticker shock for insurers.

According to the NICB, only 20 percent of heavy equipment stolen in 2012 was found, making it a costly crime for insurance companies, equipment owners and rental agencies.

Bear in mind that annual estimates of the cost of equipment theft vary from around $300 million to $1 billion, with most estimates in the range of $400 million.

But, these estimates do not include the theft of tools or building materials or damage to equipment and premises caused during a theft, or losses from business interruption, such as the cost of rentals, project-delay penalties, and wasted workforce and management time.

The NICB says the area that needs the most improvement is also the one that promises immediate results: making accurate information available to law enforcement 24 hours a day.

It notes:

At a minimum, equipment owners should keep accurate lists of equipment with PIN/serial numbers and submit them to law enforcement, their insurers, and NER as soon they discover a theft. When they purchase equipment, owners should register serial numbers in the NER database, so that the information is available to law enforcement 24 hours a day. In the event of a theft, law enforcement can identify the equipment, even during weekends or at night.†

“Friendly Fraud” On the Rise

Identity fraud incidents declined significantly in the United States in 2010, but now is not the time to let your guard down.

So-called “friendly fraud” is “ fraud perpetrated by people known to the victim, such as a relative or roommate” grew seven percent last year, according to Javelin Research & Strategy’s recently released 2011 Identity Fraud Survey Report.

People in the 25-34 age group are most likely to be victims of friendly fraud, mostly by having their Social Security number (SSN) stolen (41 percent).

The increase in friendly fraud is also contributing to a significant rise in consumer out-of-pocket costs.

While overall fraud declined in 2010, the mean consumer out-of-pocket cost due to identity fraud increased 63 percent from $387 in 2009 to $631 per incident in 2010, Javelin said.

The findings give us pause for thought.

Javelin’s advice? Keep personal data private and don’t overshare on social networks.

In 2010, 14 percent of all identity fraud crimes were committed by someone previously known to the victim when the method was known.

People also like to connect with friends and acquaintances on social networks, but sometimes they share too much information.

Javelin research found that 36 percent of people aged 65+ do not use the privacy settings on their network potentially exposing crucial information to fraudsters. (The good news is that 89 percent of 25-34 year olds were actively using the privacy settings on social network sites.)

As for overall fraud trends, in 2010 the number of identity fraud victims declined by 28 percent to 8.1 million adults in the U.S., three million fewer victims than the prior year. Total annual fraud dropped to $37 billion from $56 billion – the smallest amount in the eight years of the study.

Stepped-up prevention efforts by businesses, increased security measures and economic conditions contributed to the year-over-year decline, Javelin said.

Check out I.I.I. info on ID theft.

Car Thefts Down But Staged Accidents Up

A bit of good and bad news in latest reports on auto theft and staged auto accidents from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). First the good: the NICB says 2009 marked the sixth consecutive year of declining vehicle thefts in the United States.

For 2009, the 10 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) with the highest vehicle theft rates are: Laredo, TX; Modesto, CA; Bakersfield, CA; Stockton, CA; Fresno, CA; Yakima, WA; San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, CA; Visalia/Porterville, CA; Las Vegas/Paradise, NV; and Albuquerque, NM.

Some 83 percent of the 366 MSAs within the U.S. reported lower thefts than they experienced in 2008 and once the final figures for 2009 are available vehicle theft may drop as much as 19 percent on 2008, according to NICB.

Now for the bad news: staged accidents. The NICB says so-called staged accident questionable claims (QCs) increased 46 percent from 2007 through 2009. The ratio of staged accident QCs to overall bodily injury (BI) and personal injury protection (PIP) claims also increased over this period.

The five cities that generated the most staged accident QCs were: New York City – 1,304; Tampa – 562; Miami – 511; Orlando – 422; and Houston – 376.   Notice that Florida and New York, which are no-fault (or PIP) states, dominate the top loss locations.

NICB has created a series of videos demonstrating some of the most common types of staged accidents, available here. Check out further I.I.I. information on auto theft and no-fault auto insurance.

Auto Theft Decline Continues

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) yesterday reported that 2008 marked the fifth consecutive year of declining vehicle thefts in the United States. Its annual Hot Spots study said preliminary crime data from the FBI indicates that 2008 will post a double-digit decline (-12.6 percent) in vehicle theft when final numbers are released in the fall. If the preliminary figure holds, it will be the largest single year percent drop in thefts since 1999. Despite the overall decline in vehicle theft, NICB described this year’s findings as a “mixed bag† of good and bad news. Why? Although most areas experienced a reduction in vehicle theft in 2008, NICB said there were several noteworthy exceptions in states that border Mexico. The Texas Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) of El Paso, Laredo and San Antonio along with Las Cruces in New Mexico each saw an increase in vehicle theft in 2008. California remains a hot spot, ranking number one in total thefts. Check out further I.I.I. info on auto theft.