Nearly every industry is focused on customer experience and the automotive industry is no different. In fact, earlier this year at Consumer Electrics Show (CES), automotive makers including Hyundai, Audi, Mercedes Benz and Nissan showcased technological advances including On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) scanner, car-to-home automation and 3D holographs all aimed at providing a better riding experience.

But with the rise of connected cars comes risks of cybersecurity threats and identity theft. Connected cars can contain as much as 100 million lines of coded information. With such large amounts of data, the chances for a possible hack and access to personal data increase; moreover, the growth in car sharing services as a car rental option or a growing division of an existing company also presents risk of identity theft and cybersecurity issues. And members of the automotive industry are taking note.

In fact, this summer the Chicago Police Department warned dealers nationwide to exercise “extraordinary diligence” in verifying the identity of online customers. It asked the National Automobile Dealers Association and other industry groups to distribute a warning to dealers about the uptick in fraudulently obtained vehicles that it described as an epidemic — one that could have been prevented at the dealership. To avoid being scammed, the department recommended dealerships thoroughly vet online loan applications and other paperwork and institute a waiting period before shipping vehicles out of state.

Tomorrow’s Technology, Today: Protecting Consumer PII

This trend has left auto dealers and rental companies alike racing to protect customer personal identifiable information (PII) without negatively affecting user experience. Car rental and car sharing services are susceptible to fake IDs and auto theft, especially during a test drive or when loyalty programs can make it easy for multiple online reservations without the need to swipe a card. However, ID verification can help reduce this issue. Solutions deployed via mobile devices and scanners allow for quick data capture, authentication and even biometric facial recognition match in real time.

According to the FBI, more than 700,000 cars are stolen on an annual basis in the United States, with one stolen every 45 seconds, as of 2015. Weak links in code and anti-theft systems explain why car thieves can easily steal vehicles and access personal data from consumers and even suppliers and manufacturers. However, biometric technology, such as facial recognition, offer viable solutions for mitigating this issue. For instance, facial recognition can be used in real-time to authenticate the driver and send a text message to the owner of the vehicle, should an unauthorized person enter the car.

A Better Car Rental Experience with Fraud and Theft Protection

Smart dealers and rental companies are realizing that in order to retain and attract customers, they need to make this experience faster and less painful. Beyond that, the advent of car and ridesharing services – like Zipcar, Lyft and Uber – has disrupted the industry entirely. Now, users can use their mobile device to quickly and easily get around town. 

Technology that automates the intake of ID documents like driver’s licenses and insurance cards speeds up the process and protects businesses. Simply scan an ID to auto-populate the information into CRM or Dealer Management Systems and store data and images of the ID, no photocopies or pages of paperwork needed. With mobile devices, businesses can offer rental cars from any location or even drive the vehicle to the customer.

Another benefit to the rental companies is the protection ID verification provides. In the same swipe or mobile capture of an ID, the license can be verified in seconds to ensure that it is not fraudulent, and that the driver is who they claim to be. This prevents fraud by catching fake IDs and provides a copy of the license image on file which is needed in many states to submit claims for stolen vehicles. Rental theft can be very costly and is often accomplished with only the aid of a fake ID.

About the Author:

Stephen Maloney is the Executive VP of Business Development and Strategy of Acuant. Previously he was Co-founder, Director and President of SolutionPoint International, a diversified security and risk management company, and Chairman of Design2Launch, sold to Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE:EK). Earlier he co-founded and was CEO of i3 Mobile, a leader in wireless information leading the company to a successful IPO (NASDAQ:IIM). He graduated from Fordham, has an M.B.A. and holds or has held TS clearance.

Author: Contributing Writer

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