How many times a day does your phone ring, and when you look at it, it’s another potential scam phone call? Or when your phone chimes with a text and it’s another annoying form of spam? I can’t even tell you how many phone calls and texts I get a day from spammers – even though my phone provider has a service that helps filter it, and I have TrueCaller as another form of defense. Doesn’t seem to matter, does it? They all seem to find their way through.
For auto lenders, and for most people, identity fraud is one of the biggest concerns we have today. During this pandemic, scammers have found new ways to trick people into giving up personal information. These scammers are posing as government agencies, debt relief, COVID-19 informants, just to name a few, and unfortunately, some may have fallen prey and given up their personal information. TransUnion is warning customers that synthetic identity theft, where scammers create a new identity by using real and false information to steal vehicles, could make a comeback. It is always important to verify who is on the other line when you are speaking to someone. I personally never give my information to anyone over the phone without being 100% sure the call is legit.
Another issue for dealers and lenders alike is misinformation provided by consumers. We all know that there are people and “companies” out there who will give you false information to boost up their credit application and personal information. One of the more popular ones is people inflating their income and providing you with fake paystubs to back it up. Proof of employment could possibly be an issue as well, with many people out of jobs due to the pandemic. Luckily a lot of lenders do have ways to double-check for current employment and spotting fake paystubs. Credit fluctuation and information is another thing to weed through. I also believe that dealers should definitely do their due diligence and verify consumer information before passing it onto the lender. With all the financial assistance the government has dished out during this time, and lenders allowing for forbearance, we might not see a massive issue as of yet with credit scores plummeting or derogatory payments. Still, it could happen later this year when those programs come to an end.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying this has never been an issue before. You and I both know (as a former Finance Manager myself) that we have seen our share of misinformation and troubled credit. I’m just saying we might see more than usual, and it’s something we need to pay attention to at all times. No one wants to be on the wrong end of a scam. Having to worry about a repo and repurchasing the car from the bank is the last thing we need.