Identity thefts and stolen cars

Car thieves are increasingly able to get their hands on purloined rides, not by hot-wiring the ignition or copying keyless entry codes, but by simply using stolen IDs to fraudulently lease or obtain loans to purchase them at dealerships. According to the National Insurance crime Bureau in Des Plaines, Ill., the crooks simply drive off and skip payment, leaving the original ID subjects accountable. They then doctor the paperwork with different vehicle identification numbers and sell the hot cars to unsuspecting buyers, usually via the Internet.

“It’s comparable to a hacker stealing IDs — you don’t know you’re a victim until it’s too late,” says NICB president and CEO Joe Wehrle. “Most of these thefts don’t show up in traditional crime reporting numbers and become financial losses for lenders, car rental companies and others.” The NICB advises consumers to frequently check their credit reports for signs that someone else is using their identity to take out new loans via the website

— Jim Gorzelany
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