Database to protect consumers from fraudulent boat sellers

PALOS HILLS, Ill. A special online database consisting of motor vehicles and boats affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is being made available for the public to search in an effort to protect them from fraudulent sellers, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reported in a recent statement.

Immediately after Hurricane Katrina passed through the Gulf Coast, special
NICB catastrophe teams established two operations centers in Baton Rouge,
La., and Mobile, Ala.,, to begin the process of identifying and cataloging vehicles and watercraft affected by these hurricanes.

Working in partnership with the Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud
Unit and insurance company investigators, NICB created a database of vehicle identification numbers (VINs) and boat hull identification numbers (HINs) affected by either hurricane.

This data is made available to law enforcement, state fraud bureaus, insurance companies and state departments of motor vehicles as a result of a unanimous desire to keep future innocent consumers from being victimized by unscrupulous auto and watercraft sellers.

Beyond the official users of this data, NICB is making it available to the general public to give the information the widest possible distribution and to provide potential buyers of these vehicles one more self-defense tool against fraud.

Effective immediately, anyone can log on to and query a suspected VIN or HIN-free of charge-against NICB's regularly-updated database to find out if there is a match.

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