There are approximately 15 million Americans who have had their identities stolen and used in a fraudulent manner each year with an average personal loss of about $3,500. In fact identity theft is so well-known that many people take active measures such as shredding personal documents before trashing them so that personal information such as social security numbers and banking information can be protected. Personal information can be stolen by mail theft and trash diving to hacking into government and shopping websites to get sensitive information.
However, there is one way of getting information to use for identity theft that many people may not have considered and that is through your car. Here are two situations in which your car can make you quite vulnerable to the possibility of losing your identity.
OMG! It's gone!
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), a car is stolen in the US every 43 seconds and unfortunately approximately 45 percent of those are due to the fact that the keys are left in the vehicle. To compound the loss of the vehicle is the idea that many people are unaware of the number of personal items that they leave in their cars that contain plum information that can lead to an identity theft. Your driver's license, bills, bank statements and car papers are often left in the glove compartment. Some people even have credit cars and social security cards left in the car.
Once the car is gone, so is that information and all the previous precautions of securing your precious person information may have been for naught. To prevent this you can get several security features added to your vehicle such as an alarm, wheel or brake-locking systems and vehicle trackers. These are more likely to discourage thieves from taking the car. More importantly, lock the car and take your keys with you and do not leave any personal data in your car.
Gone with the junk
When deciding to get rid of your car that may be old and more trouble to fix than to replace, one of the options available is to take it to a scrap yard for recycling or for parts. This can be a means of making some money on the car but it can also be a means of losing your identity. Much in the same way as having your car stolen with your personal information, many people do not think to clean the car before disposing of it at the scrap yard and identity thieves are aware of this. You are especially vulnerable if you have had this car for years and there is now an accumulation of your personal property under the carpets, seats and compartments of the car.
Since scrap yards are not required to clean your vehicle and salvage your personal documents once you leave the car, it is recommended that you do a thorough clean-out job before disposing of your vehicle in the scrap yard and reduce your risks of adding to the almost $50 billion lost in identity theft each year. For more information on how to protect your car, contact a professional like Teddy Bears Auto Parts & Salvage Inc.