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Chicago dealer clipped by identity theft scam that reaches to Oregon

November 23, 2010
A Chicago dealer sent loan finance packages totaling about $500,000 to what amounted to a mailbox drop in Oregon, the Oregon Automobile Dealers Association reported Oct. 16 in a fraud alert fax to its members. The finance company allegedly posed using the names The Easy Credit Store and Dealer Flooring Service Inc. The latter name was registered years ago by an Oregon business, but that business has not operated for several years and it is not involved in the scam. The Oregon attorney general's office said neither company appears to exist. The Easy Credit Store, according to the OADA, advertised several weeks ago in a Chicago newspaper for someone to serve as an Illinois sales representative, and a Chicago man was "hired." He offered to finance any car up to 110 percent of wholesale book and, for newer cars, up to the invoice price. The Chicago dealer mailed many loan applications, each with a voided check and an account draft authorization. A scam artist with such information and signed documents can create havoc. Dealers are advised not to send customer loan applications, bank draft authorizations or other confidential information to loan companies with which they have no previous business relationship, without conducting a thorough background check.