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Reference: NICB Launches Free Service to Help Protect Consumers From Buying Flood-Damaged Vehicles

Public-Private Partnerships Drive Unprecedented Effort

Palos Hills, IL - Robert M. Bryant, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), announced today that a special online database consisting of motor vehicles and boats damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is being made available for the public to search in an effort to protect them from fraudulent sellers.

Immediately after Hurricane Katrina passed through the Gulf Coast, special NICB catastrophe teams established two operations centers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama, to begin the process of identifying and cataloging flood-damaged vehicles.

Working in partnership with the Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud Unit and insurance company investigators, NICB created a database where all vehicle identification numbers (VINs) and boat hull identification numbers (HINs) are being stored.

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 www.nicb.org and query a suspected VIN or HIN-free of charge-against NICB's regularly-updated database to find out if there is a match.

Never before has such a monumental undertaking been mounted in an effort to preclude innocent consumers from being victimized. "NICB's ability to bring this tremendous public service to the nation's consumers is due entirely to the support of the property and casualty insurance industry, Gulf Coast law enforcement, particularly the Louisiana State Police, and private salvage companies," said Mr. Bryant.

He added, "It is my belief that the cooperative spirit displayed by the public and private groups in our united response to prevent future Katrina and Rita-related fraud may very well set the standard against which future post-catastrophe anti-fraud efforts are measured."

Persons wishing to query a VIN or HIN need only visit ,www.nicb.org and follow the on-screen instructions.

For more information on NICB and disaster fraud, visit www.nicb.org. To report fraud call 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422).

The National Insurance Crime Bureau is the nation's premier non-profit organization exclusively dedicated to fighting insurance fraud and vehicle theft for the benefit of its member companies and the public through information analysis, criminal investigation support, training, and public awareness.

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 Emergency Dial 911, Portsmouth Police Department, 3 Junkins Avenue, Portsmouth, NH 03801, Tel: (603) 427-1500