Big Brother isn't the only one monitoring your every move. According to an extensive article in the July 2014 edition of Popular Science, the automobile repossession profession's system to unabashedly scan for and identify car and truck owners that are payment challenged might make an NSA agent envious - and at least for now it is completely legal. Using tow truck-mounted digital cameras, sophisticated license plate number recognition software, and a wireless link to a massive database, the current crop of repo men roam the highways and byways recording, time stamping, and GPS location fixing every plate it can find. Some trucks are outfitted with two, three, or more cameras to improve efficiency, and can scan more than 8,000 plates per day. Repo companies even hire non-repo men (and women) to drive outfitted cars through parking lots of Walmarts, airports, sports arenas, churches, and even your company's property. A company called Digital Recognition Network (DRN) reportedly has one of the largest plate-capturing databases in the country, with more than 1.8 billion (that's 1.8x10^9) scans. At an average payout from lending institutions of $300 to $800 (sometimes higher), the business is quite lucrative.
Business has really picked up (pun intended) in the last decade or so since 'no questions asked' financing has become available in order to avoid discrimination lawsuits from 'disadvantaged' persons who, after all, have a 'right' to a car*, even if you and I end up paying for it. A full day of work for a repo man used to consist of a single tow, but now a good day can involve 8 or more hauls. A lot of guys work on commission, so there is a huge incentive to round 'em up. The job is not without its dangers, so you have to admire (sorta) the willingness to potentially face a hostile owner.
You really ought to read this article titled "Scan Artist." You will be in utter amazement - and growing more and more paranoid - all the way through. The group of repossessers is not without its humorous side. Überrepoguy Scott Toth revealed why nighttime is preferred for snatching a vehicle: "During a long shift, a truck-stop shower is a small luxury at just $12; a pack of hot dogs works wonders in a neighborhood with ferocious canines; and winter is the best time to repo because few people are willing to run down the street in their underpants."
* A right probably guaranteed by the "Good and Welfare" clause (aka the "Good and Plenty" clause) of the U.S. Constitution.
Posted July 4, 2014