Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft after a Car Accident
Personal identity is so valuable that some thieves won’t mind risking your life in order to obtain it. How? By staging car accidents in order to corner victims into providing vital personal information. Today, you’ll learn how to avoid identity theft after a car accident.
Let’s start by looking at the information you should never provide to the other driver
1. Personal telephone number
After getting involved in a car accident, it may seem logical to swap phone numbers. However, this is unnecessary when you have a valid insurance cover. Why? Because the insurance company is mandated to take care of any damages directly attributable to car accidents.
When an identity thief obtains a victim’s cell phone number, he or she runs them on Facebook. The thief will then gain all personal information if the victim linked their Facebook account to their phone number. With this information in hand, you’re vulnerable to credit card fraud.
2. Physical Address
A recent survey showed that 25% of motorists believe that sharing their home address after a car accident makes them credible. Well, this poses a great risk to your identity. Seasoned identity thieves will steal your trash bags and look for any documents containing your personal information.
Most people usually discard paid utility bills in the trashcan. How is this dangerous? An identity thief can recreate similar copies using software then use them to apply for loans in your name. Since he or she does not intend to repay, these defaulted loans affect your credit score.
3. Photo of your driving license
9 out of 10 first-time car owners make this mistake when involved in their first major accident. Sensing fear, a couple of identity thieves in a staged accident will threaten the newbie driver with dire consequences. The terrified motorist quickly allows these thieves to take numerous photos of his or her driving license.
What you probably don’t know is that the thieves will use that image to create fake driving licenses. Anytime they get pulled over due to a traffic violation, you get a ticket or a fine.
It’s actually worse when the identity thief gets involved in a major accident and he or she provides your personal information.
4. Social Security Number
No state in America obligates citizens to provide their SSNs during a car accident. Even the police don’t do it!
Remember, identity thieves targeting motorists operate in small groups. When they corner a solo driver using a staged accident, the driver and “injured passengers” use their strength in numbers to confuse victims.
The angry driver treats a victim with suspicion and this manipulates a victim to provide sensitive personal information to establish credibility. Once they obtain the SSN, then it puts your retirement benefits account at great risk.
5. Email address
Let’s assume your car gets into an accident. The guilty driver provides you with his vehicle registration number but he asks for your email address to send his insurance information. Should you go ahead and write it down for him? No, you shouldn’t because it exposes you to identity theft.
Nowadays, you can find someone’s profile on Facebook or LinkedIn using their email address. If you, unfortunately, have an open profile where even strangers can view your personal photos, the thief benefits. How? By creating a shadow profile then borrow money from all your friends and relatives.
6. Allow them to take your photo
Do not allow any driver or passenger from the other car to take your photo. If they don’t trust you, then you should contact the police immediately and let them take over. Allowing another driver to take your photo is just as dangerous as sending a photo of your driving license.
You never know where your image will eventually end up. Some identity thieves create fake social media profiles. Next, they open a bank account online then borrow payday loans from left, right, and center. Eventually, you start receiving numerous phone calls from different debt collection agencies from states you’ve never visited.
7. Access to your cell phone
In this digital age, it’s hard to find someone walking with a notebook and pen inside their pockets. Why? Because our phones already have notepads and document processors. You can just type the details then send your note at no cost thanks to smartphone file sharing apps like SHAREit and Xender.
On the other hand, this mode of communication puts users at a high risk of cybercrime. An identity thief can send a Trojan virus concealed inside a note containing their name and vehicle insurance information. After downloading and opening this note, the Trojan virus activates and leaks all your passwords.
3 Steps to take if you suspect that you’re dealing with an identity thief
1. Avoid disposing of documents with your personal information in the trash
We’ve seen that identity thieves treasure your trash because they can obtain enough personal information to apply for credit cards or various loans. So, to eliminate this risk, it’s advisable to just burn your utility bills in the fireplace.
2. Set up CCTV cameras in your home
You need CCTV surveillance to spot any identity thief who decides to rummage your trashcan at night. Some identity thieves will even go ahead and steal letters from your mailbox with the hopes of finding a document that reveals your bank account or SSN number.
3. Hire an identity-monitoring service
An identity-monitoring firm uses cybercrime experts to monitor different corners of the web to spot any criminal using your information. They also monitor your credit history to investigate new credit card or bank loan applications right after your identity theft report.
Remember these tips!
Keep in mind that not every driver in front or behind you is legit. That’s why you should always stand your ground when the other driver tries to threaten you into submitting your SSN or photo of your driving license. If you ever find yourself facing a suspicious driver, it’s best to alert the police immediately. When in doubt call our office immediately after a car or truck accident. First call is always free of charge. We will tell you what to do. Personal Injury Attorney Atlanta.