Thursday, December 6, 2012

Auto Theft Series - Alert to New Theft Method Being Used

by Andrea L. Algar
Motorheads Performance

In today's news from Houston, Texas, KHOU.com reports of a new method car thieves are using. Apparently seeing the value of departing from traditional car theft methods and moving a bit more high tech, thieves in the Houston area are combining identity theft with car theft in a strategy that allows for longer retention of cars which can be used for other illegal activities and perhaps smaller risk of getting caught.

Houston's KHOU reports on new form of car theft

The article unveils the clever process of a thief using stolen identification which may include driver's license and credit cards in order to secure a legitimate car rental from a car rental company such as Hertz, Budget, Enterprise and others. The thief can secure a car which can then be used to commit other crimes, or even be sold on the black market for instant cash.

Of course, thieves prefer to use legitimate identification which has been stolen or duplicated from the identity theft victim  because it can take car rental companies quite awhile to catch on to the fact that the car isn't being returned. The rental company then tries to go after the person who had their identity stolen, and the charge would be grand theft auto! They'll also use phony ID's if they can get away with that.

Guy Algar states, "Rental autos are plentiful, and it's a business that deals with out-of-town visitors all the time, especially through the airport rental locations. It's easy pickings for these thieves. And, it makes me think that it won't stop at traditional auto rental companies. Sooner or later, thieves will think it's a great idea to target exotic, vintage and classic rental car rental businesses as well."

According to the article, "Rental cars fetch thieves about $700 per car, according to KHOU-TV, which launched an investigation into the problem. Houston Police Department officer Jim Woods told the news outlet, 'Any stolen vehicle is going to be sold for less than $1,000.' The cars are also being used in the commission of other crimes. For example, a stolen Ford pickup was used in an armed robbery at a T-Mobile store last week in northeast Houston. Some of the cars are also being sold to unsuspecting used-car customers on sites like Craigslist."

I report on this because I think it drives home the point that car thieves will do just about anything to obtain their goal. If it is a classic car, muscle car, vintage truck or other collectible vehicle they want, they will not be stopped easily. My weekly series Keeping Our Rides Safe explores various ways classic car owners can avoid becoming a victim of car theft.

ARTICLE REFERENCES
Classic Car News - Increase in Classic Car and Muscle Car Thefts Have Owners Concerned - New Series Launches on Theft Prevention and Protection
KHOU.com - How Thieves Are Stealing Rental Cars In One U.S. City

RESOURCES FOR THEFT PREVENTION:
Classic Car News - Identifying The Potential Classic Car Thief - Know Who Your Friends Are
Classic Car News - How & Where To Park Your Classic or Muscle Car To Minimize The Threat of Theft
Classic Car News - Purchasing Classic Car Insurance - Why You Don't Want To Procrastinate!
Classic Car News - At Home Theft Prevention for Your Classic Car or Muscle Car
Classic Car News - On The Road Theft Protection - How to Keep Your Car Safe While Traveling

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.
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