As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued a warning about risks which most people are not aware of that arise when you connect your smartphone to a rental car in order to access the car’s infotainment system and other connected features. By far, the biggest problem is that the car may store personal information of yours, such as your mobile phone number, message logs, contact lists and even the content of text messages you received while connected to the car. If you don’t delete this information when you return the car, this information can be accessed by future renters of the car, employees of the rental car company or knowledgeable hackers.
Don’t use the USB port merely to charge your smartphone rather than connect to the infotainment system. Connecting your phone to the system may transfer your data automatically without your doing anything further. Instead use a cigarette lighter adapter to recharge your phone in the car. If you do decide to use the infotainment system, a screen may appear on which you are provided options as to the information you authorize the system to be able to access. Limit the access to only those uses that you need. Finally, and most important, when you return the car, make sure that you have gone into the infotainment system’s settings menu and delete your device and your data.