DES PLAINES, IL and SCHAUMBURG, IL – The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) 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 chief executive officer 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.

When a VIN is verified as being cloned, AutoCheck flags the vehicle's history report with a cloned designation.

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 manufacturer certificate of origin (MCO) 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.