Eye on Scams: Cleaning up your personal data when you sell your car

Eye on Scams

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — When selling your car, you might also be selling your personal information. While most people think they are done with just cleaning out their car, you might also want to clean out your car’s electronic information. According to the Federal Trade Commission, your car is a computer that stores a lot of information about you.

Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “With the technology in vehicles today, it’s a convenience when they own the vehicle, but it could lead us to some type of opening ourselves to some type of identity theft and definitely compromising our personal information if and when we sell that vehicle to somebody else with the ways the maps track places that we’ve been, the garage door codes that are saved, the way we link our phones and applications to the computer in the vehicle. We want to make sure we clean those things out and not turn in over your vehicle with all of that data still stored.”

Everyday, people sell their cars on sites like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and other classified ad sites. Experts warn they also may be selling their personal private information.

“It could have your credit card information saved in the vehicle somewhere or even, maybe your home’s Wi-Fi network that with the right technology and tools, the right person could be able to access your home network which could leave your computers and laptops and everything vulnerable as well.”

As a precaution, car dealerships delete all the private information saved in one’s vehicle after it’s traded in.

Michelle Newland, BMW Client Advisor with Moss BMW, explained, “Always make sure you delete your old phone and your phone book and addresses in your navigation system to protect yourself from any future information that’d be left on the car. When you go into navigation, you want to delete any addresses that you have.”

Here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau on what to look for when cleaning up your personal data from your car:

  • Check for a factory reset option on your car.
  • Remove subscription services like satellite radio and Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Check syncing. See if your phone contacts or any other digital content like music could be downloaded in the car.
  • Review the navigation system for location data like home and work.
  • Remove garage door codes for your home or office.

For more on Eye on Scams, download our Eye on Scams podcast on 10 Talks Acadiana. It’s available anywhere you listen to podcasts. 

If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send an email to smasters@klfy.com.

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