My 1997 Pontiac Bonneville SE’s air conditioning died at the end of last summer and it isn’t just a recharge to fix the problem. The fix is more than the value of the car, so a new or new used car is in my future like thousands of car owners.
Car dealerships are a hot bed of Identity Thieves. I have lost track of how many clients and readers who think their Identity was stolen at a car dealership – usually a used car lot.
Clark Howard: Do not apply for a car loan through the dealership!
Not only will you pay a higher interest rate, but you will be giving you Social Security number to them. I have seen applications for car loans setting in a stack on a salesman’s desk. I doubt the dealership runs background checks on the service department, receptionist or cleaning staff.
What you need to do:
Get your free credit reports from at least one of the major credit bureaus: AnnualCreditReport.com.
Get preapproved for your loan at your bank or credit union. You will save money and avoid giving your Private Personal Information to a high risk Identity Theft source.
Freeze your credit after you get the loan.
Consider a monitoring service like Identity Theft Shield.
New scam warning for online car buyers: “A bogus eBay buyer protection program is being invoked by criminals pretending to sell cars on Craigslist.”
Crooks use Edmunds name in car scam: Edmunds.com has had its good name and logo ripped off by con artists trying to sell cars through a bogus purchase protection program that doesn’t exist.
Clark Howard of CNN says in his Credit Freeze and Thaw Guide, “Credit freezes are one of the most effective tools against economic ID theft available to consumers.”
Don’t let your Identity pay for a thief’s new car.