CRYSTAL LAKE, IL – Automotive Compliance Consultants, the only dealership-exclusive compliance experts in the auto industry, cautions dealership service departments not to place vehicle repair orders where camera phone-equipped identity thieves can capture customer information from them.

“We’re seeing customer identity theft occurring in auto dealership service departments by thieves using smartphones to snap photos of customer repair orders left unprotected from the public eye,” noted Terry Dortch, president, Automotive Compliance Consultants, Crystal Lake, IL.

These thieves, once customer data is capture by their camera phones, are using the information to call those customers, presenting themselves as an employee of the dealership.

“They falsely inform the customer the service department erred on their last service bill and they come to the dealership for a reimbursement check – typically about $50 -- or the dealership can credit the overcharge to the customer’s credit card if the customer will provide the necessary card information,” Dortch said. “Guess which option is more convenient for the customer and lucrative for the thief?”

Dealers can learn more about Automotive Compliance Consultants at the NADA Convention in Las Vegas Feb. 3-6 at Booth # 3135.

Repair orders, deal jackets and photocopies of driver’s licenses left in the open or in the copier certainly yield priceless information for one bent on using it for ill gain. Some time ago while sitting outside an F&I office, Dortch said he once spotted a stack of deal jackets next to a coffee pot in the customer lounge. 

In today’s world, the paperwork and financial transactions an auto dealership generates are prime theft objects for thieves and hackers. They see unprotected documents and unsecure computer data networks as bags of money left unguarded.

The point is, routine paperwork and financial data generated to sell service and parts can be used against you and your customers -- and can cost both of you dearly. Effort securing this information from prying and criminal eyes has become a necessary part of being a good business operator today.

Service managers must also continue to monitor their shops’ compliance to human safety, as OSHA is continuing to audit dealership service departments, attempting to surprise operators whose employee safety compliance is lax.

OSHA violations, especially when they result in personal injury, can be very costly to the dealership. Fines can run as high at $90,000, which insurance does not cover. OSHA hot spots include department and transportation certifications; protection equipment around grinders and welders; signage on exists and electrical panel access; and, fire extinguishers.

Automotive Compliance Consultants specializes in dealership compliance, providing in-dealership consultations and analysis, compliance audits, and training, and offers solutions for all compliance needs. The company’s experts have extensive experience in the retail automotive industry and focus exclusively on dealership compliance issues. For more information, contact Terry Dortch at [email protected] or visit