Being involved in a car accident can be extremely stressful, and it’s common for people to feel rattled and uncertain immediately following a crash. Unfortunately, identity thieves have found a way to take advantage of the vulnerability accident survivors experience. These crooks can persuade frazzled drivers to disclose highly sensitive personal information, such as their driver’s license numbers, birth dates and social security numbers, at the scene of the collision. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is warning drivers to be vigilant and take precautions to avoid becoming their next victims.
Photo by C. Holmes
With the recent law changes in Las Vegas making it unnecessary for officers to respond to car accidents, identity thieves are taking advantage of this lack of authority at the hands of innocent and vulnerable drivers. These crooks will ask drivers for details about their identities, such as their driver’s license numbers, birth dates and addresses. Armed with this information, the individuals can wreak havoc – obtaining credit cards, taking out loans, and even committing crimes in their names.
Las Vegas Metro officials have publicly confirmed that the department relies exclusively on uniformed law enforcement officers to investigate auto accidents. They have warned that anyone who is not wearing a uniform and approaches drivers at an accident scene could be a thief. They’ve also alerted drivers to the possibility that identity thieves could pose under other guises to obtain personal information, and they recommend that drivers take care in their interactions with those present at the site of crashes. But what else can drivers do to keep their identities safe?
What You Can Do To Protect Your Identity
Photo by Thomas Hawk
It’s important to remember that you can still call a police officer to the scene if the other driver refuses to give up their info, fails to stop or escalates the situation. The best way to protect yourself is to be knowledgeable of the laws and rules of Las Vegas auto accidents. To protect yourself from identity theft after an accident, follow these guidelines:
1.) Avoid revealing sensitive information about your identity to people you talk to at the site of a collision.
In Las Vegas, drivers involved in a collision are required to share only their driver’s license numbers, home addresses and vehicle registration information with one another. They don’t have to disclose their insurance information, but it’s usually a good idea to do so. Drivers should be prepared to provide this information to uniformed officers, as well.
2.) Review the immediate steps you should take following an auto accident now, so you’ll be prepared if you ever need to use them.
Make sure you have a complete knowledge of what should occur immediately after a crash, and don’t stray from your plan. Car crashes can be a dizzying experience, take the time to collect your thoughts and act appropriately. Following an auto accident, it’s important to get to safety, understand the situation and apply useful knowledge to avoid losing your identity.
3.) Do your best to document what happened during the accident. Take photographs using your smart phone, and write down as many details as you can about the incident while it’s still fresh in your mind.
It’s a smart idea to keep an “accident guide” in your glovebox that outlines what information you should take down following a crash. If someone approaches you at the scene of a crash and you realize they weren’t involved in the accident, inform the police immediately and consider filing a report. Taking such action could be the key to preventing others from being victimized. For more information on what to do following a car accident, contact us today or give us a call at (702) 450-4868.
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