Car Financing Identity Scam Rampant in Current Marketplace
Recently, BMW dealers reported receiving emails from scamming companies attempting to get customers’ financial information under the guise of being from the BMW Financial Services’ underwriting department. The scammers were attempting to obtain both personal information and customer finance applications on a large number of sales made through the dealerships.
Dealers throughout the United States have been warned by the Finance and Leasing Association, also known as the FLA, about the scheme that is currently underway in the marketplace. The warnings went out to dealers via the emails on file with the FLA. The FLA did not only send the letters to BMW dealers but also to dealers of all other brands of vehicles on the market. The FLA first learned of the scam from BMW Financial Services. The BMW offices sent a letter to the dealer network for the brand, warning its dealerships of the scam and what to do if they were approached for customer information.
Acting on prudence, Kia Motors Finance decided also to circulate the letter to its dealerships to warn them of the possibility that the dealerships may also be susceptible to this type of scam Despite this prudent measure, none of the dealerships, nor the corporate offices of finance services of Kia have reported the scam being tried.
Kia warned its dealerships, and similar letters were sent to BMW dealerships, warning that individuals pretending to be from the finance department were contacting individual dealerships attempting to gather further information. The individuals, they reported to their dealerships, were asking for copies of financial applications to be faxed to them, and for copies of drivers licenses, altered applications, and other updated information to be sent along with the applications.
Reports from all of the impacted dealerships indicated that the efforts so far had not been successful in obtaining any information regarding clients or their data. But all dealerships have been warned by their respective finance offices and by the FLA to be wary of requests for customer data and to always double check before making the decision to honor information requests. Reports from the FLA indicate that the attempts to gather information are most likely a clear attempt to create a more organized attempt to conduct fraudulent activity at a later date using the customer’s information.
BMW has stepped out in front of the issue to assure customers that their information has not been compromised. Jim Everett, of BMW Financial Services, indicated that the company has processes in place to protect customer data and that these processes are used in a stringent manner to ensure that no customers ever have to worry about the safety of their information when they do business with BMW or purchase a car. For other dealerships and car brands, making customer information safety a major priority in the future will help ensure that these types of scams cannot negatively impact any customers, their data, their purchases, or the reputation of the company and its sales.
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