Car dealerships can be hot spots for identity theft

Identity theft is a crime in which the thief obtains key pieces of customers’ personal identifying information, such as their driver’s license numbers, their social security number, credit cards, medical records, etc. The process starts with lost or stolen wallets and mail, a computer virus, a data breach or a dealership. Yes, a dealership.

In the battle to keep personal information private, it’s not just the stereotypical hacker in a dark room with a ski-mask on that we have to worry about. Every year, many fall victim to identity theft due to poor data security practices by businesses, retailers and even pharmacies. If it can happen to the U.S. Government and large corporations like Target and Home Depot — all of whom have recently experienced security breaches — it could easily happen at your dealership.

How are you protecting your customers’ identities when they come in to fill out items like a car loan application? Simply making a copy of their driver’s license when they come in for a test-drive and then tossing it into the trash puts customers at risk.

The Red Flags Rule requires many businesses and organizations to implement a written identity theft prevention program designed to detect “red flags” of identity theft in their day-to-day operations, offering steps to prevent crime and mitigate its damages.

You can help your employees spot suspicious patterns and prevent consequences by training them on what to look for and what questions to ask. Are they prepared to answer inquiries that customers might have such as “What is this information being used for and how will it be disposed of?”

Being the dealership that people can trust and rely on is a great selling point. Protect your customers from having their accounts drained and their credit damaged.


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