A car accident can lead to identity theft
Any day you’re in a car accident can seem like the worst day of your life, but you know what’s even worse than a car accident? Having your identity stolen. Unfortunately, those two problems can end up being one in the same for some people who don’t identity proof themselves after an accident.
How does an accident lead to identity theft?
An accident is one of the very few times you have to give over your most sensitive information to a complete stranger. If you’re not careful, doing this could lead to your identity being stolen. Identity management is key to avoiding identity theft, and that’s especially true after an accident.
How do I avoid identity theft after an accident?
Every state requires different information that needs to be exchanged after an accident. For example, in Oregon you have to exchange your name, address, license plate number, insurance company information and your driver license number.
That’s a lot of sensitive information to share, and that’s why it’s important to always call the police after an accident occurs. Even if your accident is minor, having the police present while you exchange your information means that the officer will serve as the mitigator during that process. If your identity were to be stolen a few days or weeks after your accident, the police officer who was at the accident could easily track down the other party, and question them about your stolen identity.
Also make sure that the other party is writing down your driver license number, and not taking a picture of it. Taking a picture of your license makes it significantly easier for a criminal to use your own identity against you.
And if you have any concerns that your identity was stolen, you can contact the DMV’s fraud department. Their office can help manage your identity and track down where your information was used without your consent.