I’m a car expert – drivers are putting themselves at risk of fraud

Motorists are at risk of handing out their personal data to complete strangers in a major scam risk by making a simple mistake when they sell their car. 

Andrew Jervis, CEO of ClickMechanic, warned drivers sensitive data could be “exploited” if motorists fail to disconnect their mobile phones before handing over the keys. 

Most modern cars have a range of built-in entertainment systems with drivers often able to connect their mobiles via Bluetooth. 

This allows individuals to play music and even take calls hands-free while behind the wheel. 

However, not disconnecting a device could mean a new owner can access a range of information about an individual’s private life. 

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Mr Jervis explained: “Many of us sync our phones to in-vehicle entertainment systems to enjoy music while we drive or to help us find our way.

“But the mistake too many people are making is forgetting to erase the device from the Bluetooth system when selling their cars or handing the keys back on a rental vehicle.

“This leaves your sensitive data such as your name, contacts and navigation history at risk of being exploited by someone who rents the car after you.

“Failing to remember to erase your phone is essentially sharing your personal details with strangers who may use it for fraudulent purposes.

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“While some rental car companies have a policy of wiping the system after each driver, many don’t and it’s up to the individual motorists to do it themselves.”

Information which can be accessed through an infotainment system includes a list of the previous owner’s phone contacts. 

A car navigation system will also hold details of regularly used addresses and previous destinations which could include coordinates of an office or school.

Any garage door codes programmed in a vehicle should also be removed as this could hand potential thieves an entry mechanism. 

According to ClickMechanic, users should be able to delete their device from the paired phones list in the ‘Systems Settings’ facility.

Meanwhile, owners can also clear all devices from their vehicle using the ‘Factory Reset’ option.

However, researchers from Which? have previously discovered that more than half of motorists (51 percent) did not un-sync their phones before selling a vehicle.

The survey also found that 79 percent of road users have not permanently removed data from their cars.

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