When you fill out a credit application for a new car, house, or bank loan, you think your information is secure… but is it really?
It all started last week. I was at work and received an email with the subject line – ‘Please initial your credit application. Your husband has already signed it.’ I’m thinking that this is a scam. My husband and I didn’t fill out a credit application for anything. I wasn’t even sure I should open it. But I did and did and boy was I surprised!!
The email was from a major car dealership in another state, far away from me, and attached was a scanned copy of someone’s credit application. That person was not me! It was an actual credit application! I had everything – social security number, driver’s license, place of employment, address, phone numbers, you name it, I had it. I could not believe what I was looking at! When the person completed the application, somehow a place to initial was not initialed. So the Finance Manager scanned it and emailed it to the person who completed the application.
So since I was not that person, how did I get it?
Well, the email on the application was hard to read but the first 4 letters were the same as my personal email and the remaining letters on my email is my last name, which happens to be the last name of the person applying for the loan. The Finance Manager sent an email and it bounced back. So he tried another variation of the email, which came back to him. Then he tried another variation, which, wait for it…bounced back to him. Then he tried another variation, that he pulled out of thin air, which included the person’s last name. That variation happened to be my email… and bam!, I get all the information I need to steal some poor person’s identity!
I was horrified! What if it was my information that someone received? I would be livid to know my application had been emailed, without encryption to some random person! Why did the manager just not call the person on the phone? Heck, I had both her home and cell number!
I immediately responded to the finance manager. I told him I had received it and what I thought about sending personal information by email. Then I thought, this guy isn’t going to let someone else know he messed up. I knew I wouldn’t have a chance to call the person until about 9:00 that night and couldn’t read the email but I did find a work email and sent a message about what happened.
After work, I called my husband and told him about it. He offered to call the person so I forwarded the email I received to him. He called the dealership but the finance manager wasn’t there so he left a message. He then called the person who completed the application. Needless to say, she wasn’t happy. My husband sent the email to the person, and we deleted all copies we had.
I do know the person contacted the dealership and talked to the GM. I don’t know what it takes to become a Finance Manager of a major car dealership but someone in that position should know that you do not, I repeat DO NOT!, send a completed credit application through email! Especially if you can’t read the email so just take a stab at it!
So how safe is the information on your credit application? Really?