Avoid Accidental Identity Theft
It can be a difficult and confusing time: objects flash by, car horns blast, car brakes screech, and the violent crunching metal and breaking glass as vehicles collide. Then, dealing with the sometimes angry and frequently awkward aftermath. Each party to the accident orients themselves, determining whether they are injured; then they open their car doors and step outside to assess the damage. This is precisely the time when drivers involved in an accident share information. While it’s very important to trade information, it is just as important to be careful not to share too much.
Post-accident rituals used to be quite old school, each party copied down items such as name, phone numbers, driver license numbers and insurance information. However, in today’s highly computerized, networked world, we have technology coupled with a sharing attitude that could expose us to identity theft.
Instead of the restricting information to names, license numbers and insurance companies, drivers now trade more details than is necessary, such as home addresses. More disconcerting is the increasingly common used of smart phone technology where drivers use their phones to take pictures of driver licenses.
Your duty after an accident is to provide only enough information in order to handle your legal and financial responsibility to persons you injure or property that you damage. DO NOT give away information that may allow others to create fake I.D.s or access to information that assists in the creation of accounts or loans in your name. Securing personal information for fraudulent use is so widespread that some criminals organize themselves into rings that specialize in staging traffic accidents in order to illegally collect details from “accidents.”
While various states require the sharing of information, it tends to be minimal. Therefore, if another party attempts to secure more information than you are comfortable sharing, get the police involved to make sure such requests are legitimate.
Source – ©The Rough Notes Company, Inc.