The FBI reports that a car is stolen every 43 seconds. It’s not just your missing car or truck that’s at stake—you could soon lose your identity. Be particularly concerned if your garage door opener was inside the vehicle. Thieves will find your address on your registration (if you keep it in your glove compartment), which means they now have easy access to your home, where they can take valuable items and paperwork with your identifying information.
• Install a vehicle-tracking device on the car along with a visible notice of its existence. Thieves do not want to get caught, and they’ll pass on stealing a car that looks like it is easily traceable.
• Install some type of locking system on the steering wheel so that thieves cannot steer the car. They will pass your car by for one they can actually drive.
Then there’s this: More than one-third of all stolen vehicles were stolen when the keys were left in the ignition. This tip is simple—don’t do this.
This approach is taken by thieves who don’t steal your vehicle, but take everything in it. They do not limit themselves to just radio and speakers; they’ll take your GPS device and everything from your glove compartment. Most people keep their car registration and insurance card in the glove compartment, so now thieves have specific identifying information.
With information garnered from your registration and insurance card, savvy thieves can steal your identity. You may not even realize this has happened until you receive bills for items you didn’t buy or loan statements for money you didn’t request.
Don’t store your registration and insurance card in your glove compartment. Instead, lock them away in your trunk under your spare tire, or put them in a bag under your car seat or floor mats.
If you do this and get stopped by a police officer, do not try to retrieve the items until the police officer begins conversation. Then, tell the officer where the documents are and allow the officer to retrieve the items or instruct you to do so.
Driver’s License Theft
Driver’s license theft is a common way your identity is stolen. It can be the actual theft of the license itself, or in many cases, your driver’s license may be copied in order for thieves to make a duplicate. They may use all your information and have a professional counterfeiter place their photo on your license. Then, if they garner any traffic citations or get stopped for a DUI, you are the one who is asked to pay.
According to LifeLock identity theft experts, this type of fraud is easy once someone has your driver’s license. Your name, address and birth date provide a thief enough relevant information to take the next step in stealing your identity. Your birth date alone makes it fairly easy to discover your Social Security number.
Your license information may be stolen when you go to test drive a vehicle, and the salesperson makes a photocopy of your license. If you look at an apartment, management may ask you to leave your license in the office while you look. You do not have to comply with these requests. Guard your driver’s license like a credit card or Social Security number and do not let anyone photocopy it.
Written by Darius Smith
Darius considers himself the ultimate source for automotive news. He has an English degree from Colorado State University, which comes in handy when he blogs about the latest car he is restoring.