Got the below letter in the mail Saturday night. It claims to be from the credit union that services our vehicle loan. It says that our insurance information is not current, and if we do not quickly provide our up-to-date insurance information to them, they may purchase insurance on our behalf.
A recent review of your loan file indicates that [my credit union] does not have a current copy of your physical damage insurance for the collateral listed below. The terms of your loan agreement require you to maintain this coverage on your collateral at all times.
Please furnish evidence of insurance that meets the following conditions. We will be unable to accept insurance information that does not meet all of these conditions.
- [uninteresting conditions]
For your convenience, you or your insurance agent may furnish evidence of insurance in the following ways:
- [uninteresting ways]
In the event we do not receive evidence of your insurance coverage, we may purchase insurance on your behalf. You may want to avoid this action by providing proof of coverage.
If you have any questions about this notice, please call our Insurance Service Center at 1(800)998-0763. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.
Insurance Service Center
I was a bit distracted at the time of opening the letter, and it stressed me out – another thing on my todo list. I admit that at first, I intended to respond and submit our insurance information, but I was still hesitant. Why would my credit union be using an external company to process insurance information?
Thankfully I put it off until Monday, when I was fresher. Googled the name of the website and came across this reddit post, tipping me off to check out the loan number. The loan number was incorrect. The VIN is correct, though. (Redacted, although hey, you could likely find it too.) Phone number didn’t match up with our credit union. Phone number is also posted to some site called GoSafco, supposedly for some automotive insurance company called Safco. web.archive.org says the site has been online since 2012. They helpfully offer this advice on their website:
If you have received a notice regarding your insurance policy cancellation, a letter stating we need proof of insurance, or a non-renewal letter, please provide us with a copy of your insurance policy. You can FAX it to: 1-866-319-1597 or call 1-800-998-0763. You may also email the information to [email protected]</blockquote>
The site (gosafco.com) is pretty thorough for a scam site, and free of typos. There’s another company called Safco that sells office products and that has Glassdoor reviews, so I think that SafCO is legit.
Be careful out there, it’s a scammy world. (But most people are good.)
Edit: I might be wrong about this, but if I am, shame on my credit union partner for the terribly scammy-feeling letter. I found several other sites that have been around for almost two decades that link that website and phone number:
- Nicholas Financial Inc – which has a glassdoor profile with 29 reviews, which links back to that website. But the reviews themselves follow a pattern, as if the same person wrote many of them. But why would scammers need to establish the legitimacy of a company that the victims already believe exists, because they are legitimate customers of the company? That’s what I don’t get.
- Gosafco – feels phishy, and there’s an entirely separate company by the name Safco that sells home office products.
- CSF Servicing – but I mean, who includes an “update your insurance info” on their homepage?
- Amplify CU – different phone number, but also links www.myinsuranceinfo.com
Edit 2: My credit union says they contacted their Allied rep, who confirms that they manage www.myinsuranceinfo.com, and who runs that phone number. However, they have not yet explained why they sent a letter with an incorrect loan number. I’m not embarrassed that I mistook this for a scam – it’s remarkably tacky for Allied to send a letter as if they were my credit untion (with half-good credit union letterhead!), and to identify themselves simply as “Insurance Service Center.” Shame on you, Allied.
I have shared my experience on that reddit post, which, interestingly, contradicts the experience of that OP with his bank.
And here’s what I sent to my credit union:
Please also pass this along: It’s really tacky of Allied to use your letterhead (which looks like a poor imitation at that) and to claim to be you, and then to link to a non-credit-union site, and to only call themselves “Insurance Service Center.” Insurance fraud is a big concern, and letters like this would be a great way to harvest information. VIN information is easy to get (I think). There’s no indicator of legitimacy in their letter – the post office box isn’t even linked to [the credit union] on your website from what I can tell. Perhaps [the credit union] could leave a note on your site explaining that Allied is your external partner who manages these kinds of things?</blockquote>
David Eargle is an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Leeds School of Business. He earned his Ph.D. degree in Information Systems from the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests include human-computer interaction and information security. He has coauthored several articles in these areas using neurophysiological and other methodologies in outlets such as the Journal of the Association for Information Systems, the European Journal of Information Systems, the International Conference on Information Systems, and the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences), along with the Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI). More about the author →