News & Resources

Thieves strike short term lenders

Nov 05, 2012 Quinn Thomas

When consumers face economic struggles, they often have to seek out short term lenders to make ends meet or cope with an emergency expense. This has been a common occurrence in recent times, as the Great Recession left many Americans reeling. However, because many companies within the sector have been seeing increased business, criminals have also turned their attention to the industry. Businesses such as short term lenders and pawn brokers now have to go the extra mile to make sure both themselves and their clients aren't being duped. Brokers are increasingly recording transactions in databases in case items are discovered to be stolen. Lenders, on the other hand, are being forced to come up with ways to ensure the validity of the identity of some of their borrowers. ID thief hits Racine County lenders
According to The Journal Times of Racine, Mariah Ford was recently charged with two counts of felony personal identity theft after taking out loans using other persons' data. The source said Ford was able to successfully take out money from three different short term lenders in Wisconsin. The newspaper explained that Ford stole personal information, including Social Security numbers, from individuals in South Carolina and Illinois. She was caught after employees at Oak Creek's EZ Money Short term Loans discovered discrepancies in her application after she'd taken out a $2,125 loan. Authorities then discovered she had taken out amounts in Burlington and Racine, and hadn't attempted to pay them back. In a case like this, if employees and police officers hadn't been able to track down the criminal, the lenders would have been short-changed more than $1,000 each. So, it is in the best interest of these companies to constantly be on the lookout for any scammers that could adversely affect their revenue. What can be done
Lenders can take a number of actions to make sure their branches don't fall prey to these schemes. For instance, there are many identity verification programs available that can ensure the validity of an application. Take Microbilt's ID Authenticate for example. The program allows business leaders to enter in a borrower's provided information, and then comes up with questions that only the true individual would be able to answer. For instance, after a borrower has supplied a name, birthday and Social Security number, a lender could ask from which state the Social Security number derived, in which countries the applicant has lived and other specific questions such as car purchasing history. The answers are then checked against those provided by the database to ensure identity and continue the transaction.