Auto lenders and dealers were exposed to hundreds of millions of dollars more in fraud and more than triple the number of suspicious loan applications in 2021, Point Predictive said last month.
The fraud prevention and analysis company, which collects data from a consortium of lenders, singled out phony employers, income misrepresentation and synthetic identities as key components of last year's increase.
Point Predictive's fraud team found more than 16,600 suspicious loan applications — a 260 percent increase — seeking a combined $309 million.
The company estimated lenders were exposed to $7.7 billion in fraud altogether last year, up 5 percent from 2020.
"The pandemic laid the groundwork for rising fraud risk in 2021 as fraudsters learned to use falsified information and identities to benefit from unemployment and paycheck protection programs," Frank McKenna, Point Predictive chief fraud strategist, said in a statement.
"Now that these government programs have ended, automotive lenders are dealing with an influx of fraud. [Last year] was another milestone year for fraud risk, with auto loan fraud estimated to reach $7.7 billion — a number we, unfortunately, expect to continue rising."