WANADA Identity Theft Prevention Seminar Educates Dealers on How to Prevent Fraud

As identity theft and fraudulent purchases at dealerships rise across the country, WANADA hosted a theft prevention seminar last Thursday at the Pooks Hill Marriott in Bethesda, designed to educate dealership personnel on the best ways to clearly identify these crimes and stop them in their tracks.

Missy Coyne, a retired Baltimore County Detective, now Special Agent at the non-profit National Insurance Crime Bureau, opened the seminar with a presentation on the numerous forms of identity theft. Coyne cited reports from the Federal Trade Commission, which indicate there were 115,109 reports of auto related fraudulent activity in 2019. With Maryland and Virginia both listed within the top 10 states for reports of overall fraud, it’s clear that extra precautionary measures must be taken now more than ever.

Coyne highlighted a few case studies to help attendees find signs of potential identity theft and fraudulent behavior at local dealerships. Later, Scott Addison of Fitzgerald Auto Group stressed the importance of informing every dealership employee of how sophisticated these crimes can be. Addison and Bill Banahan, of the Maryland MVA, demonstrated how both counterfeit and fabricated documents like fake pay stubs, utility bills, and even driver licenses make pinpointing these perpetrators difficult. Banahan ended the seminar with a few key security features on every vehicle title and driver license and recommended helpful tools like blue lights and barcode scanners for some features that aren’t visible to the naked eye.

WANADA will be gathering contact information for auto theft detectives in the relevant jurisdictions of our service area and posting to our website, www.wanada.org, and will send an update once this is complete. In the meantime, if you have any information about people that may be attempting fraud at your dealership, please reach out to John O’Donnell at jod@wanada.org, or Joe Koch at jk@wanada.org, who can help you report suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities and/or notify your fellow dealers of the threat.

Download Bulletin PDF