Fraud is an escalating problem in the UK as we become more reliant on digital documentations and transactions.
Unfortunately, fraudsters are increasingly sophisticated in their methods targeting businesses and consumers all over the country. And car dealerships are no exception.
To coincide with National Scams Fortnight, Seán Kemple, Director of Sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance gives his advice on some of the ways that dealers can identify and prevent digital fraud in their showrooms.
Look out for suspicious content
When determining whether a digital document is fraudulent or genuine, there are some red flags which you can look out for in the content of the document. If an out-of-date, unusual or un-professional looking logo has been used, then it worth checking against the company’s website. Be on the lookout for spelling or grammatical errors, suspicious font sizes or colours, or inaccurate calculations within the document – all would suggest that it has been forged.
Match up with supporting documentation
If the individual has supplied you with other documentation such as a credit card statement, council tax bill or payslip, do the deductions or deposits on the statement reflect those values on the supporting documentation? Also check if the name, address and postcode match exactly those on the application and not printed in a different font type or misaligned, which may indicate the document has been altered to ensure the details correspondent.
Verify codes with manual tools
If you’re keen on taking extra precautions to ensure the validity of a document, then there are manual checking tools to verify codes. The Royal Mail-4-State Costumer Code (RM4SCC) should reflect the postcode listed on the document provided. Additionally, if a passport has been supplied, you can check the machine-readable zone, as this includes information related to the passport number, nationality, sex of the individual listed in the identity document, expiration date, and date of birth. The Government provides useful information on how to check a UK passport is genuine: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/basic-passport-checks.
Check the digital properties of the document
Properties of the document can be used to determine its authenticity. Scanned documents that have been altered will often have a bigger file size than unaltered documents. Fraudulent documents may display contrast imbalances and/or colour differences which often become more apparent when viewed using the ‘zoom in’ function – so take a closer look at your document. What’s more, printing a document often highlights issues which may not have been visible when viewed on the screen and indicate that it’s fraudulent. So if in doubt, print it out!
Watch out for altered PDFs
Software packages and websites that allow users to manipulate or alter PDFs are now commonplace and this can make fraudulent PDFs very difficult to spot. Manipulating and altering PDFs ‘watermarks’ the document, so when the document’s properties are viewed it is possible to identify if it has been edited and what software was used to do so. Check against examples of manipulated PDFs to spot any conspicuous alternations.
Put yourself into the shoes of a fraudster
If you want to familiarise yourself with the online resources used by fraudsters to produce fake proof-of-address documents, then there are websites to help with that. For example, www.replaceyourdocs.com and www.banknovelties.net provide ‘novelty’ documents printed with any name and address provided, and they contain sample images of fraudulent documents used by individuals. When comparing your documents to those on the websites, look out for matching bill values across multiple documents and matching codes that run up the left-hand side of the document. Also call the phone numbers on the bills to see if they’re valid.
GOVERNMENT COVID GUIDANCE DISTILLED FOR FLEETS
Based on Government advice, a new document called ‘COVID-19: A two step guide to vehicle safety principles’, has been produced by Arval UK for fleet managers.
The official recommendations have been distilled down to three pages to help fleets return to work safely, using information from the Government’s detailed “Working Safely During COVID-19” guide.
Arval UK Head of Consultancy, Shaun Sadlier explained, “The document delivered by the Government provides a strong basis for future fleet risk management of COVID-19 for businesses that operate company cars and vans. The content makes a lot of sense.
“However, it’s a lengthy document and we’ve created an abridged version that includes all of the relevant principles and ideas, but in a format that is faster and easier for fleet decision makers to use on a day-to-day basis.
“The fact is that some industries are going through the process of returning to work very quickly and we are keen to provide ways of making this as easy – and safe – as possible for our customers. The new guide very much fits in with that thinking.”
Shaun added that Arval UK had been taking part in ongoing conversations with fleets of all types and sizes about how to effectively manage the risks associated with COVID-19 during the lockdown period.
“In a matter of weeks, a consensus had started to emerge about what best practice would look like for the majority of fleets. We are pleased to see that these ideas largely agree with those being recommended by the Government.
“Taking the official guidance and the ideas that have been developed by the industry itself, we now have a framework that can be used as a yardstick across the sector, which is obviously crucial as a widespread process of returning to work begins.
“Our consultancy team has been in dialogue with large numbers of fleets and helping them to make decisions that will protect their workers and their customers. Some issues are not easy to resolve but, almost uniformly, we have seen a people-first approach.”
Government guidance is available in full at gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/vehicles