DONNA HARRIS

A good case for ID theft protection

Donna Harris covers automotive retailing for Automotive News

Identity theft protection is a hot seller for some F&I offices. And it’s no wonder.

The mean fraud amount per victim overall was $4,607 in 2010 and resolution of an identity theft typically takes 26 hours, reports Javelin Strategy & Research.

The mean out-of-pocket cost per victim last year was $565 in credit and debit card fraud cases, the most common type of identity theft, the consulting firm said in its 2011 report. Out-of-pocket costs include unreimbursed losses, lost wages and legal or credit-monitoring costs.

But it gets worse: New accounts fraud, where a criminal steals information and uses it to open a new payment-card account, is more difficult to solve, and it’s on the rise.

And 14 percent of fraud victims had personal information stolen by someone they knew -- a family member, friend or co-worker. In those cases, the mean fraud amount jumped to $8,233.

I talked with a dealer who complained that he caught several identity thieves in the past few years and reported the evidence to the local U.S. attorney’s office.

What do you think happened? In each case, he was told they didn’t have the time or resources to pursue it.

I wouldn’t wish identity theft on anyone, but stories like this should help F&I managers make a case to customers for buying identity theft protection.

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