Employee theft in American businesses costs approximately $50 billion per year, and car dealerships are no exception. In some cases, other employees are aware of the theft but fear speaking out in case of retaliation or job loss. Now, automotive retail and compliance expert Max Zanan believes he’s found a way to help: The Dealership Fraud Hotline, a new kind of whistleblowing automotive platform and hotline that makes it easier for dealership employees to anonymously report on fraudulent, illegal, and damaging behavior. The platform went live this week.

“The most alarming statistic of all is that 75 percent of employees have stolen at least once from their employers,” said Zanan, Founder and Owner of Dealer Fraud Hotline. “The reality is that most people are good and want to do the right thing; it’s that small percentage that can do irreparable damage to the dealership without the proper whistleblowing features in place.”

The goal of the hotline is to allow employees who see fraud, corruption or theft to alert the company of illegal actions without fear of retaliation. To use the service, dealerships pay a yearly fee, sign up, and receive a dealership ID number, as well as an employee memo that explains the details of the platform. The cost of the program is $365 per year per store for all dealerships in the U.S. Employees are then informed how to submit anonymous reports if they see something suspicious. These reports are immediately sent to the designated persons registered with each dealership.

“Oftentimes employees are afraid to come forward because of fear of retaliation and bullying,” said Zanan. “Providing an avenue to submit an anonymous and confidential report will help car dealers save assets and reputation.”

Zanan noted that while everyone wants to trust their employees, practical safeguards are needed to ensure that a bad apple or two doesn’t ruin the business, as well as people’s livelihoods.

“I’ve launched the Dealership Fraud Hotline to help dealer principals protect their assets, reputations, and the future trajectory of their company,” said Zanan. “It’s time for all dealership owners to be practical and pragmatic in their management approach.”