Weekly Car Insurance Crime Watch: December 23rd

An arrestThe news doesn’t stop, because crime never does either.

With the deluge of crime stories that Online Auto Insurance News (OAIN) sees every day relating to car coverage, here is a roundup of this week’s biggest headline-grabbing yarns.

And it certainly is a deluge. This week, a look at a few seemingly innocuous things in life that, with a closer look by the authorities, turn out to be a more complicated ploy aimed at unknowing consumers.

On “The Lookout,” a Discovery of Superstorm Sandy Scam to Sell Cars

Superstorm Sandy hit the northeastern U.S. more than a year ago, but scams from the disaster are still showing up.

Reporters from “The Lookout,” an investigative ABC News program, followed the trail of one scam to a used car dealership in New Jersey.

There, reporters found a vehicle-for-sale that would likely pass a typical consumer’s inspection.

But the bum car in question, a 2006 Ford F-350 for $19,999, had a spottier past that the seller conveniently forgot to mention.

And he did more than just not mention it. Investigators say that Jonathan Olin was behind a five-month scheme that illegally washed titles of Sandy-damaged vehicles, then resold them to unsuspecting customers.

So what might’ve been if it had been one of those unsuspecting customers buying that 2006 Ford F-350 instead of “The Lookout”? One dead transmission, plus one heck of an airbag surprise.

An independent body shop owner inspected the vehicle and found it had “serious damage,” including corrosion on the transmission that could render the vehicle useless and (my own personal nightmare) airbags that could deploy at any time.

Shoppers and buyers of used cars should check the background of their prospective purchase through a number of resources made available by insurance companies and federal entities.

Arkansas Phone Scam Prompts Sheriff’s Advice to Hold That Call

The phone rings. What are the chances you answer if caller ID says it is coming from 1-800?

Much less than if it says the call is in your local area code. And some scamsters are counting on exactly that.

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department in Arkansas warned consumers that a recent spate of phone calls about car insurance that appears to be a scam, according to KAIT 8.

The ploy is aimed at grabbing personal information, which is often handed over easily when a consumer believes the voice at the other end of the line is legitimate.

These specific scamsters, according to Sheriff Jody Dotson, wanted to maximize their chances of success by masking the number they called from as a local call. The ploy was made possible by “spoofing programs” that “you can use to stick in someone else’s phone number,” Dotson told KAIT 8.

And it even happened to the sheriff himself. Thankfully, small-town neighborly folk have that small-town neighborly know-how.

“Two years ago, the jail got a phone call and it came up as my cell phone number and it was somebody going, ‘I need you to let so and so out of jail,’” Sheriff Dotson said. “And they were like, ‘That don’t really sound like the sheriff.’”

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

No comments yet.

Comment on this article