Have you ever stopped to tie together car accidents and identify theft? Sure, you have car insurance and you have to, according to law, provide all the information necessary to manage all that transpires in vehicle repair, etc.
It is bad enough to deal with all the coincident aspects following a car accident, who would have thought you needed to add to the “checklist” a thorough check to protect yourself from identity theft? Who would have thought as you swap important auto insurance information, you may have been deliberately “slammed into” by an unscrupulous driver intentioned to steal your identity? Bankrate, a credible online resource I frequently turn to for financial information, provided this little gem today – just another tip I can share with my clients to ensure they at least consider just what they do share during an otherwise frightening and disconcerting event.
What SHOULD you provide?
So, just what should you provide and what should you give every effort to protect? Clearly, individual states have governing laws to which you must abide, but most appear to require only your name and vehicle information. On the other side of the coin, however, is what do “you” need to have to file a claim? Name, address, driver’s license number, phone number and insurance information. What you can rest assured you do not need to, and under all circumstances should not, share is your social security number. All nature of red alerts should come up if you are asked to provide that information to anyone.
Modern technology aids and abets criminals
With the modern use of cell phones for taking images to “document” things, it would be all too easy for someone to photograph your driver’s license and duplicate it. Rest assured there is absolutely no reason you should provide that opportunity. Unless your state requires you provide your home address, avoid providing the information; why should any person need to know it, or put your family at risk? A large amount of identity theft comes from rifling through a family’s garbage; put seemingly innocuous information from the trash with critical information gleaned at the site of the accident and you have the perfect recipe for identity theft.
Err on the side of reason.
Let me say this, “It is far better to err on the side of reason, and if there is any “conflict” presented by the other driver, don’t hesitate calling the local police – that act will give the other driver cause for pause… when you insist on providing the information directly to the police rather than thinking the other driver is being considerate by “offering” to file the police report for you! You should also ask for the contact information of any witnesses, and the badge numbers of a police officer who may just “happen” on the scene. If at any point you feel there is some concern, take time to contact the National Insurance Crime Bureau at (800) 835-6422, and report any “possibility” of fraud.