U.K. authorities say vehicle-finance fraud cost lenders £2.9 million ($4.7 million) in the year’s second quarter as 195 scam attempts succeeded, raising the total to 835 in the past 12 months.
The Finance and Leasing Assn. says the number of successful incidents in the quarter was down 12% year-on-year, but losses declined only 0.8%.
Working with the Vehicle Fraud Unit, part of the Association of Chief Police Officers Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, association members identified more than 2,100 fraud attempts in the second quarter, thwarting £26.8 million ($43.4 million) worth of bogus deals.
The association says almost 30% of the vehicle-finance fraud in the past 12 months was committed using false finance applications.
Fraudsters are most likely to lie about their employment circumstances, often naming nonexistent companies as their employer. They also use false home addresses and overstate their earnings to increase their chances of getting credit.
“Application fraud increases in tough economic conditions, as people know that it can be difficult to get finance if they have a poor credit history, or an unsteady source of income,” Paul Harrison, head of vehicle finance for the association, says in a statement.
“But exaggerating their income, hiding previous addresses or giving false employment details to improve their chances of getting a car on finance is fraud and will be reported to the police.”
The association says vehicle-finance companies have become adept at spotting fraud and only one in every 11 fraudulent applications is successful.
Association members provided £19 billion ($30.8 billion) in financing for vehicle purchases last year, including more than half of private new-car registrations in the U.K.