Friday, 10 July 2020 16:48

How Car Dealers Can Spot, Stop Con Artists

Written by Ken Kertz, Wards Auto


According to the California Highway Patrol, since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, vehicle theft investigators and detectives have witnessed a significant rise in auto fraud. 

Professional auto thieves are taking advantage of the current climate, starting with mandatory face coverings that allow fraudsters to more easily conceal their identity.


Some manufacturers’ “no payments for three months” promotions will give criminals an unintended “grace period” to possess and/or sell the vehicle, without the fear of repossession or a timely investigation. More than likely, the vehicle may be a loss before the first payment’s due date, if it’s shipped out of country or VIN switched. 


Auto thieves exploit vulnerabilities in the car-buying process. These include buying online, in the store, taking the car on a test drive, getting a loaner vehicle and curbside delivery. Their risk of being caught when using fraudulent tactics to “purchase” a vehicle is lower than if attempting to break in and physically steal a vehicle. 


Dealerships and lenders working together


For dealers, keeping staff safe is the first priority, followed by taking measures to identify and address fraud. To combat and stop it before it happens, we recommend dealerships and lenders consider a unified digital identity and authentication approach to compliment the onboarding process, whether online or in-store.


It takes less than 20 seconds to confirm someone’s identity. By allowing customers to take a “selfie” and present it alongside their government-issued ID, you can verify identities in real time by establishing:


  • Proof of possession: Validating government identification data through document capture, legitimacy checks and alteration detection.
  • Proof of identity: Facial capture coupled with liveness detection to ensure a legitimate selfie. Voice and fingerprint captures facilitate additional biometric authentication options for strong customer authentication. 
  • Trusted corroboration: Machine learning-based match between selfie and government picture and/or confirmation with third-party databases to affirm the validity of the individual.


Identification and authentication enable the consumer’s progression toward “everything mobile” and can be used throughout the dealership or on a lender’s website.


State-of-the-art facial recognition, liveness detection, document capture, hologram detection and real-time corroboration ensure dealerships, lenders and OEMs take a balanced approach to security and the user experience, providing easy-to-use, integrated security across the customer lifecycle.

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