Can Sharing Personal Information After a Car Accident Put You at Risk for Identity Theft?

Be careful what you say after an auto accidentIt is common practice to share information with other drivers after a car accident. However, many people make the mistake of providing too much information. According to the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), you may be putting yourself at risk for identity theft by giving away too many personal details to other drivers.

You only need to provide other drivers with your name and auto insurance information. The latter should contain the name and phone number of your insurance provider. Many people make the mistake of giving away their addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers and other identifying information. Why is this a mistake? Identity thieves can use this information in the following ways:

  • Driver’s license number: Many businesses ask for driver’s license numbers to confirm the identities of customers. Identity thieves can also use your driver’s license number and name to discover more of your personal information, such as your birth date. Birthdays are another common way retailers confirm identities.
  • Phone number: The DOI has warned retailers use phone numbers to confirm the identities of customers. However, there are other reasons why you should safeguard this information after an accident. An identity thief could type your phone number into Facebook to uncover additional personal information, such as where you live or your birthday.
  • Home address: Once identity thieves have your home address, they may go rummaging through your trashcan. If you do not use a document shredder (which you should), they may be able to steal information like your Social Security or bank account numbers.

What Steps Can You Take to Protect Yourself After a Car Accident?

It is a good idea to call the police after an accident. Police officers will write reports that can be useful information to your car accident attorney (should you hire one). These reports will also help with the claims process.

If you suffered injuries from an accident, be very cautious about taking phone calls from the insurance providers of other parties. Insurance adjusters for these companies are not interested in helping you get what you need to recover. They are interested in saving their employers money.

An attorney can communicate with these companies to help you receive the damages needed to pay for medical bills, property damage and other expenses.