Fair warning for ID thieves

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News

Customers usually don't mind proving their identity, but it helps if the F&I manager can point to a sign posted prominently in the dealership explaining that it's for their own protection, said Dave Robertson, executive director of the Association of Finance & Insurance Professionals.

AFIP, by the way, just happens to sell such a sign. It says: "CUSTOMER NOTICE: To help protect you from identity theft, this dealership employs detection and prevention procedures addressed by the RED FLAGS RULE as established by the Federal Trade Commission, 16 CFR Part 681." (That last part cites the Code of Federal Regulations.)

Besides reassuring legitimate customers, Robertson said, the sign alone probably deters some identity thieves. "I sell a lot of those signs. I mean -- a lot," he said in a recent phone interview.

He added: "I bet they sell a lot more 'This home protected by such-and-such security system' signs than they do home-security systems."

Obviously, there's a lot more to meeting the Red Flags Rule, and AFIP has the lowdown on all that. A sign helps, but it's more important that F&I managers get their entire staff to sign off on following the law.