In the past five years, identity theft and cybercrime have significantly increased in many industries, including the automotive industry. In fact, data breach incidents have impacted the automotive industry in several ways, including:
Toyota, Tesla, Volvo, Volkswagen, and Nissan have all reported data breaches.
Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian – all used by auto dealerships to determine a customer's creditworthiness – have all been breached.
Ally, Chase, and Wells Fargo – three leading auto lenders – have all experienced data breaches.
Geico, State Farm, and Nationwide – three leading auto insurance companies – have all been breached.
Hundreds of auto dealerships throughout the U.S. have also gotten breached, giving another reason for dealers to be concerned.
The fact is the automotive industry is evolving with connected vehicles, smart technology, the personal information of car buyers, and auto dealerships experiencing data breaches. Examples of auto dealership data breaches range from hacking into the auto dealer's computer server to hacking into an auto dealer vendor's computer server, to the insider threat – where auto dealership employees steal personal information from an auto loan application.
According to Total Dealer Compliance, 84 percent of surveyed consumers say they "would not buy another car from a dealership after their data had been compromised."
In the article titled The Risk of Cybersecurity Threats Continues To Grow for The Auto Industry, “auto dealerships are attractive targets for cybercriminals because they collect, process, and store large quantities of customer data within their dealership management systems (DMSs).”
Based on the above, what can auto dealerships do to protect a car buyer from identity theft?
According to Joe Annoreno, the CEO of Scottsdale-based Vero, LLC – a leading product and services provider for the retail automotive and financial institution industries – "auto dealerships can offer a timely and valuable identity theft protection benefit with the sale of the car or include with a finance and insurance offer."
In addition, Annoreno said, "auto dealerships can enhance their brand halo by offering an identity theft protection benefit that covers the entire family, includes all types of identity theft, and has almost no exclusions in its terms and conditions."
So, with all this in mind, how does an auto dealership choose the best identity theft protection services to benefit its customers? To begin with, auto dealers need to offer an identity theft protection program focusing on response and recovery. While credit bureau monitoring (the core product offered for most identity theft programs) sounds like a good idea, credit bureau monitoring creates a false sense of security, has numerous limitations, and cannot prevent identity theft from happening.
In addition, more people have purchased credit bureau monitoring than ever before (50 million people), and more people are now victims of identity theft than ever before (100 million victims). Instead, the better identity theft protection option focuses on response and recovery such as the Fully Managed Recovery program offered by Vero (https://www.idproselect.com/).
To conclude, managing identity theft needs to get reinvented. Offering an embedded consumer identity theft solution focused on response and recovery will help auto dealers increase customer loyalty and trust. As consumers leverage their digital identities more than ever, auto dealers can help car buyers protect their digital identities.