Identity Theft Training

You may recall that a Tallahassee car salesman was arrested earlier this week for using customer information to apply for credit cards and trying to buy a brand new car. Tony Brewer, who worked at the Lincoln Mercury dealer on West Tennessee Street, was arrested, but his accomplice Christopher Shorter is still on the run. Friday, it's not arrests making our news. It's a pre-emptive strike.

The sales meeting was like no other at the Saturn dealership. Men and women who usually tout the newest features or the newest models were learning how to spot the newest brand of bad guy, the identity thief.

"We talk about it a lot. Most of the time it's us talking to ourselves. We get a lot of information about it so we share it with our employees as best we can."

The showroom is bustling as salesmen talk with potential buyers and service calls go out over the loudspeaker. Tallahassee police are cautioning salesmen never to leave a customer alone with their desktop computer to make sure paperwork is not open to prying eyes and to shred any documents bound for the dumpster, but police are also teaching these salesmen how to avoid being scammed by an identity thief, checking references accounts and discrepancies with more vigor.

"Information that's on carbon copies of things that most people have originals of, if they don't have any information about the place where they say they worked, things like that may make it seem suspicious. They ought to trust their instincts a little and check into it a little bit more."

The Saturn and Mitsubishi dealers are the first businesses in Tallahassee to ask police to come and brief their crew on how to protect themselves and their customers from ID theft, a sign of the times.