How common is identity theft at auto dealerships? According to a report in Automotive News, “Dealerships are targets for identity thieves — those working from both the inside and outside.” * The report quotes Dave Robertson, executive director of the Association of Finance and Insurance Professionals:
“It’s still a major problem, but it’s not growing as fast.”
The report also quotes Maryann McKessy, Chief of the Fraud and Identity Theft Bureau of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, regarding auto dealerships:
“I hate to say it, but it’s a pretty common ground where information is breached.”
The FTC has issued “Red Flag” rules to try to curb identity theft at auto dealerships and among other creditors who handle people’s personal financial information. Dealers are being urged to train their employees to be on the lookout for identity thieves, including checking to see if the person in front of them looks like the photo on their driver’s license.
Imagine handing over your personal financial information, including your home address, Social Security number, birth date, and amount you earn each month, to a dealership finance manager who just happens to have a history of engaging in identity theft. Creepy, no?
Unfortunately, some dealers fail to do even basic background checks of prospective employees. As a result, you may end up exposed to identity theft. The FTC has issued “Red Flag” rules aimed at curbing ID theft at auto dealerships, which is a step forward, but — they don’t have the staff or resources to police compliance.
Bottom line: This is yet another reason to ALWAYS get your financing lined up with a reputable lender BEFORE you shop for a car.