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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

Your Old Car's GPS Can Lead People Straight To Your Home

When you trade in your old car for a new ride, you obviously make sure you didn’t leave any belongings in the trunk or the back seat, and the dealer themselves makes sure to scrub the car clean so that they can get the best price on a resale. However, one alarming trend has been highlighted by St. Louis, Missouri, CBS affiliate WFMY 2 News that shows many people are leaving personal identification behind in their old cars that could lead to serious theft of identity.

Reporters from the news source speculated that when many individuals deliver their used cars back to the dealership, they often don’t take care to clear the information from their GPS systems that could lead the car’s new owner straight to their house. What’s more concerning is that the dealers in most of these cases don’t even think to clear these in-car computers before handing over the keys to a new driver.

Reporters teamed up with a local car dealership that was willing to hand over the keys to a selection of cars for sale on the lot so that they could investigate what these cars would tell their new owners about the previous occupants. In one car, the “favorites list” on the GPS showed a local Catholic girls school as well as a home that was located in a million-dollar subdivision.

The team looked at a total of 12 cars, and nine had personal identifying information on the GPS, such as places of work, local haunts or schools, and five of those had home addresses clearly identified. While the news team was sure to erase this information from the cars they investigated, there are potentially thousands of other vehicles out there today that could compromise a person’s safety and identity.