The level of a vehicle theft risk as it relates to identity theft depends largely on the contents left in a car at the time when the car is stolen. According to government records, there are hundreds of thousands of cares stolen each year of which about 30% lead to identity theft because of the personal information found in the stolen cars by thieves.
Often, a car theft is not committed for identity theft purposes but rather to steal and profit from the car and car parts, however, when items such as credit cards, check books, ID cards, and other documents are found by car thieves, it is a bonus that they could not refuse. There are usually pieces of information in the car that we must keep such as copies of car insurance and car registration, however, keep in mind that there is a difference between documents that we must keep in the car and items that we unnecessarily leave in the car.
There are always some risks that we must take to just function in the society and keeping the required documents in the car is one of them. But when we keep the originals of unnecessary documents and other valuable items in the car, we just carelessly increase our risk of identity theft. We have discussed before the risk of stolen remote garage door opener and house keys left in the car by either people we trust such as valet parking folks or just plain car thieves. However, keeping documents which contain valuable personal information in the car just increases the vehicle theft risk by another notch. Such items may include laptop, cell phone, tax documents, driver's license, and personal mail which can further increase the risk of identity theft.
Sometimes, stolen personal information is used to create counterfeit documents or make unauthorized purchases; however, the vehicle theft risk can be even higher when the car and related documents such as car registration, ID cards and insurance documents are used to commit a crime such as robbery, drug transportation, and murder. In such cases, the vehicle owner is even in a deeper trouble than just being in a position to resolve a few cases of unauthorized transactions. You must always assume that your car may not be where you parked it when you return, therefore, always think about ways to prevent the theft of your car by following car protection best practices, and, prevent identity theft be not leaving important documents and items in the car. Believe it or not, one third of vehicle owners do not lock their car doors and 14 percent leave the keys in the ignition when they leave them unattended which are very basic mistakes that vehicle owners can easily avoid.
As mentioned, there are many trusted parties who might take advantage of our trust such as car valet services, car wash services, car repair services, or any other car related services where you hand over your car to unfamiliar persons. It is prudent to always check the contents of the car and remove any and all items which can be abused before you surrender your car.
If your vehicle is ever stolen or broken into, make sure you immediately take action to replace the stolen items and notify the appropriate parties such as the police, companies, and other authorities as necessary.