Here are some tips if you are planning on renting a car for your vacation this summer (and who isn’t already thinking about summer vacations?). If you think you might use the rental car’s mapping system or playing the soundtrack from “Coco” to keep your kids occupied, those seemingly innocent actions could put you at risk for identity theft.
Most major rental-car companies have no policies to delete sensitive information collected during the trip once you return the car, and consumer groups such as Privacy International and Consumer Watchdog are calling for change.
A recently published report by Privacy International warns that “Your name and navigation history is valuable personal information. Combine this information with a bit of open source intelligence, such as social media profiles, and you can track down individuals.”
While vehicle-based data so far seems to have helped fight crime, there are issues to be aware of when you rent a car. Lots of information can be saved when you connect your phone to a car:
- GPS history.
- Device name.
- Address book.
- In-car internet search history.
- Music-streaming login, such as Spotify or Pandora.
- Call log and text messages if you use hands-free calling.
- WiFi identifiers.
Perhaps in the future rental companies will automatically delete customers’ data from rental cars when the car is returned. Until they, the best way to protect yourself is to take a few minutes to delete your data before returning the car by going to system settings, or the Bluetooth setup menu, and deleting your device from the paired phones list. An even more thorough way to clear data is by finding the factory reset option in the menu—most rental companies provide owner manuals in every car that can guide customers through unpairing devices.
The numbers are out for year 2017, and it was the worst year yet for identity fraud, with some 16.7 million individuals affected. Identity theft happens all the time, but what if it happens to you? Be prepared with LibertyID.
Identity theft wreaks havoc on a person’s life. When you sign up for LibertyID, you’ll rest easy knowing that if your identity is ever stolen you’ll be able to fix it with just one phone call. A certified restoration specialist will handle all of the legwork and keep you informed with regular status updates and there is no limit to the time or money LibertyID will spend restoring your identity to pre-event status. LibertyID is the AAA of identity theft protection, offering the most effective identity theft restoration service. But just like with AAA, you have to get covered before there’s an incident. For more travel hints see our blog on staying safe on your Spring break.