HOUSTON – KPRC 2 has reported extensively on serial fraudsters, taking a deep dive into their elaborate scheme of recruiting people to help them buy vehicles from area dealerships using fake or stolen identification cards.
Jeremy Phipps and Jareika Sanders are two of the latest, according to Houston police, to be caught in the act.
“The dealership had sensed something was wrong and then contact us. We verify something is wrong, and then we send patrol units out to make the arrest,” said Sgt. Darren Schlosser with Houston Police Department’s Auto Theft Division Vehicle Fraud Unit.
Houston police said I.D. scanning technology is a big reason why they’re able to catch suspects and stop fraud. Many dealers are now using devices that play a critical role in real-time I.D. verification by looking for and checking security features.
“Things like watermarks, infrared, photo patterns, all the different security features in that document. We want to make sure that they are present,” Schlosser added.
Pete MacInnis is the CEO of Elend Solutions, a company that sells I.D. scanning devices to automobile dealers to protect them against fraud.
“It can look at up to 63 different security features within that document,” MacInnis said.
By arresting 16 people so far this year for fraud in progress, HPD’s Auto Theft Division/Vehicle Fraud Unit has been able to prevent $740,000 in fraudulent vehicle purchases.
“We’ve definitely noticed an increase in our fraud in progress arrests over the past eight months,” Schlosser said.
Without this tool in their arsenal, police said they would be making fewer cases. Every time someone doesn’t get caught, the cost can be passed on to the consumer.