How car dealers can protect themselves against ID fraud — Pete MacInnis | eLEND Solutions

ID scanning and verification devices from eLEND Solutions are catching criminals in the act, preventing fraudulent purchases, and helping local police. Today on Inside Automotive, Pete MacInnis, Founder and CEO of eLEND Solutions discusses how this technology aims to curtail rising fraud risks in the auto retail industry.

ID scanning devices are becoming more popular as dealer fraud incidents increase across the country. When a criminal gets away with the act, the cost can be passed on to the consumer. Theft rings are recruiting people to help them buy vehicles from area dealerships using fake or stolen ID cards.

Not only can dealers end up losing money from lost inventory, but some dealer groups are finding themselves facing lawsuits from angry consumers who had their IDs stolen and used to purchase vehicles fraudulently. Some cases are being settled out of court for thousands of dollars.

ID scanning technology, like the product from eLEND Solutions, can help dealerships by looking at IDs and checking for security features in real time. The product offered by eLEND can check up to 63 security features within a single document.

MacInnis says that his company partnered with Group 1 Automotive, headquartered in Houston, Texas, around three years ago to test the ID Drive product. Together with the Houston Police Department, the company challenged the dealership by presenting them with 20 fake driver’s licenses.

Group 1 put those IDs through their current scanning product, and all 20 passed with flying colors. Then the dealer ran those same IDs through eLEND’s product, which was able to catch every single one and flag it as fraudulent.

Now eLEND has over 100 installations in Group 1 stores. And because of the partnership with the Houston PD, which operates in the third largest city in the United States, the local news media is taking notice and reporting on the issue to bring awareness and attention to the problem and the possible solutions. The dealerships can coordinate arrests with the Houston PD, leading to arrests and prosecutions.

MacInnis points to an example of a woman who was arrested at a dealership. The woman drove a vehicle onto the lot that was not only obtained fraudulently from another dealer right down the street but contained 19 additional fake licenses. Because of the ID scanning technology, the original dealer recovered the vehicle, and the secondary dealer prevented another crime from occurring.

MacInnis explains the importance of this technology for dealers, who often spend decades building their brands. According to him, a small investment in ID fraud technology that can catch criminals in the act will protect that brand and help law enforcement catch these people.

MacInnis says his company is in the process of conducting a national dealer survey, which has received just short of 1,000 responses. He says that’s more responses than they’ve ever received from any survey and points to why this issue is resonating with the marketplace. The survey asks dealers about their experiences with fraud over the last year and includes questions like:

  • Have fraud problems increased since the beginning of the pandemic?
  • Do you think there is a correlation between the uptick in fraud and the remote buying process?
  • Have you been defrauded in the past year?

MacInnis says the company is working on compiling the received data and will be sending a report out shortly with the results.

ID fraud is a hot topic that deserves attention, as the resulting losses can quickly add up for dealers. Point Predictive’s Auto Fraud Trends report shows that auto fraud is estimated to reach $7.7 billion in the past year.

And even though MacInnis points out that number includes all types of fraud and misrepresentation, including loan fraud and income fraud, it’s clear that dealers and the market are starting to take notice of the issue’s magnitude. Thanks to companies like eLEND, there are affordable solutions that dealers can take advantage of now to help protect themselves and consumers from fraud.

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