Cybercriminals can use your kid's SSN to construct new identities, and the theft may go undiscovered for years.
Crooks May Use Your Name and SSN to Buy Cars That They Sell Overseas
Here’s how the scam works: Crooks use names, social security numbers and addresses that they find online to buy a car with no money down, using fake IDs. This is usually not a one-person crime, as it takes organization and resources to make it work. The person who goes to the dealership, as the public face of the theft, gets about $1K from their bosses in the crime ring.
Automotive News wrote about an automotive fraud ring that was active in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The perpetrators bought and resold more than $1 million worth of cars and trucks from local dealerships. They used different identities at each dealership, making them tough to track, and purchased vehicles for no money down. By the time the first payment came due, the vehicles were on their way to Africa for resale, and identity theft victims were left holding the bill.
Will Auto Dealers Stop Fraud?
In one positive development for consumers afraid that their data may be used to buy a car, Digital Dealer noted that there is ample incentive for auto sellers to become more diligent about not accepting fake applications. Dealerships that accept obviously bogus applications may be held responsible for the crime. Plus, if too many cases of fraud occur at a particular seller, that seller may receive intense scrutiny from lenders, slowing down its sales processes.
When dealerships take precautions such as checking multiple forms of ID, and are diligent about matching information on various pieces of paperwork, they can stop some fraudulent purchases before they occur. If a buyer with good credit is willing to accept a high interest rate, or if the buyer isn’t interested in pairing their cell phone with the vehicle’s Bluetooth speakers, dealers should subject that buyer to extra scrutiny.
Protecting Data and Setting Alerts
People who don't have alerts set up to protect against identity theft may find out very late that they've been victimized. They may also struggle later to get financing for a home or auto loan if their credit was dinged by an illegitimate purchase by a thief.
However, if you use Identity Guard, it is less likely that you would ever be saddled with the bill for a car you never bought, because you will receive an alert if there is an attempt to open an account in your name. No one is going to let a buyer drive off the lot with a new car without first checking their credit report, and it is that check that triggers the alert.
The median time for those alerts is just four minutes for an Identity Guard® subscriber*, which gives subscribers an early warning if a theft is in progress. If you were relaxing at home and received an alert that there was attempt to get credit at a car dealership, you could immediately call the dealership to inform them that your identity is being used to commit fraud. For the criminal, the gig would be up.
But subscribers of other identity protection programs, such as LifeLock, InfoArmour or Costco Complete ID, wait an average of 19 hours** to receive an alert. By then, the sale would have been completed and the car already driven off the lot.
Learn more about Identity Guard and find the plan that’s right for you and your family. Identity Guard has personal cybersecurity family plans, to cover everyone living at your address, including an unlimited number of children and adults.
*Study performed by ath Power Consulting in February 2018, paid for by Identity Guard.
**Study performed by ath Power Consulting in February 2018, paid for by Identity Guard.