Fraud Prevention and Detection: Agency

This award is presented to a new program or initiative to enhance/ensure integrity of products/services in a jurisdiction, such as facial recognition systems, security features to a vehicle title, implementation of ALPR, address verification software, etc.

This is a motor vehicle agency OR law enforcement agency award and is awarded at the international level.

Each agency may submit only ONE entry.

Criteria for selection:

  • Project/program/initiative decreases fraud or fraud risks
  • Definitive/measurable outcomes

2023 Winners - Motor Vehicle Agency

International and Region 2

Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

Temporary Tag and Dealer Licensing Improvements

Since implementation of temporary tag and dealer licensing improvements, TxDMV has denied 158 dealers access to the temporary tag database, closing 98 of those licenses because of fraudulent tag activity, while continuing to pursue closure of the remaining 60 licenses. Fingerprinting has led to 190 license applications being withdrawn, more robust pre-licensing checks have resulted in increased enforcement referrals, and site visits increased from 270 in fiscal year 2021 to 640 in fiscal year 2022. Monitoring of daily tag reports also resulted in 65 enforcement referrals, and 14 dealers were denied access as a result.

Region 1

New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission

In 2021, New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission staff in the Safety, Inspections and Business Operations unit observed an uptick in fraudulent activity involving temporary tags (eTemp Tags) issued by State-licensed dealerships. The Deputy Administrator overseeing the unit directed MVC investigators implement a system that could flag and automatically suspend temporary registration privileges for dealerships suspected of eTemp Tag fraud. Such an action would allow the MVC to investigate suspected illegal activity before any additional fraudulent tags could be issued. The investigators worked with NJMVC’s Information Technology unit to develop a system, put in place in October/November 2021, to automatically suspend the eTemp Tag-issuing privileges of any dealership issuing an abnormally high volume of eTemp Tags during a set period of time. In the short period of time this program has been operating, some three dozen dealerships have been positively identified as trafficking in what amounts to fake tags, choking off the source of likely hundreds of fraudulent temporary license plates that are often used for criminal activity that ranges from smuggling stolen vehicles to toll evasion. The NJMVC’s program is a measurably improved and important step in the security of eTemp Tags by halting the distribution of tags while identifying and, where appropriate, prosecuting, dealerships using their state-issued licenses to engage in unlawful activities.

Region 3

Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services Division

MN Geofencing Implementation

Through proactive system security monitoring during high alert periods, Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) was alerted to excessive traffic in bots and users whose IP addresses were generated from internet service providers outside of North America. While FAST’s product has a default setting to prevent access from certain countries, this increase in access from other continents led to discussions on how to further protect the driver services and vehicle services system and its data. In effort to mitigate a prolonged spike in out-of-country access, DVS opted to implement FAST’s additional geofencing functionality, which blocks all access to the site from IP addresses from countries not located in North America. The feature, which is built into the application firewalls, uses a constantly updated list of IP addresses and corresponding service provider to determine whether access to the system should be allowed. While it is difficult to quantify the exact number of IP addresses that have been blocked, because data constantly changing and an address outside of North America may later be assigned within the continent, FAST confirmed that since its implementation, geofencing has effectively blocked all traffic from foreign IP addresses.

Region 4

California Department of Motor Vehicles

Lien Sales Automation

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) receives approximately 40,000 lien sale notices monthly for vehicles valued at less than $4,000. In February 2022, the department initiated a Lien Sales Automation (LSA) project to digitize information provide by lien claimants and to automate the validation and verification of the information provided. Prior to the LSA project the department relied upon manual workflows to address the incoming notices of pending lien sales which limited the ability to use data analytics to address the potential for fraud. LSA uses data extraction to digitize information provided by lien claimants and robotics process automation to verify compliance with lien sales laws and to validate the accuracy of information provided against existing DMV records. This enhanced accountability has significantly improved the department’s ability to efficiently process lien sales notices including digitally archiving the lien sale notices and automation of lien sale rejection letters. Another element of the LSA project is the creation of an interactive visualization dashboard. Populated with the digitized lien sales application information, the dashboard provides the department a new resource to use for fraud detection and deterrence. Historically the DMV Investigations Division relied on consumer and law enforcement complaints to initiate an investigation regarding fraudulent lien sales after a crime has been committed. The dashboard allows the DMV to identify vehicles being sold by lien holders with high rates of rejections and/or potential violations of law and identifies the location and date of auction sale for purposes of regulation. The Lien Sales Dashboard was implemented in February 2022 and is now populated with over 350,000 Lien Sales records including VIN, license plate, vehicle make, model, and year, lien claimant, sales date and location, and rejection reason for denied notices.

2023 Winner - Law Enforcement Agency

International and Region 2

Florida Highway Patrol

The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Intelligence (BCII) and the Division of Motorist Services, Bureau of Dealer Services (BDS) work extensively with federal, state, and local partners to identify methods being used by criminal organizations to circumvent federal motor vehicle importation guidelines. Some criminal organizations import disassembled motor vehicles then reassemble the parts into motor vehicles and attempt to fraudulently obtain Florida titles and registrations. BDS received a tip from U.S. Customs and Border Protection pertaining to some abnormalities with the importation of a motor vehicle. BDS reviewed the inquiry, found multiple instances of impropriety, and reached out to FHP for assistance with a criminal investigation. It was determined the criminal organization (Florida vehicle dealership owners) forged or intentionally neglected to provide required U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Customs, and Environmental Protection Agency forms associated with the importation of vehicles. The criminal organization sold the illegally titled vehicles across the United States, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars. During the investigation over $600,000 dollars of wire transfers were linked to Japanese banks. BCII expanded the investigation and discovered additional methods the criminal organization used to fraudulently obtain motor vehicle titles in Florida, including using fraudulently obtained documents from other states, improper use of temporary license plates, and the use of fraudulent documents ((forged vehicle identification number (VIN) inspections, forged odometer declarations, etc. This initiative resulted in over 240 criminal counts in Florida, to include racketeering, grand theft, uttering forged documents with intent to defraud, criminal use of personal information, and concealing VINs.