Scam of the day – May 3, 2015 – Driving your car toward identity theft

We are all aware of the danger of identity theft when using your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone, but what about when driving your car?  Many people are not aware of the risk of identity theft presented by their cars and leave important documents with personal information in their glove compartments or even just on the seats of cars that in the hands of an identity thief can be used to make the car owner a victim of identity theft.  Sometimes, people will even leave car purchase contracts that contain their Social Security number in the glove compartment.  This leaves car owners in jeopardy of identity theft if their car is broken into or if a rogue employee of a tow company or a rogue auto mechanic doing repairs on the car rummages through the car for documents with personal information.

TIPS

When you first purchase your car, you provide the automobile dealer with personal information that, in the wrong hands, can be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  A good practice to follow is to ask the dealer about its policy for retention of documents with personal information and destruction of documentation once they no longer have a need for it.

In order to reduce the risk of identity theft posed by your car, you should limit the documents you leave in the glove compartment to only those necessary documents such as your registration and insurance information.  Also, don’t think the flimsy glove compartment locks provide you with much security.

Finally, don’t leave purses, wallets or other sources of personal information in plain view even in a locked car. That is an invitation to a break-in.