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Selling your car? Be sure you read this first.

Posted on October 21, 2018

Teipen Selanders Poynter & Ayres CPAs have recently learned that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has issued an important consumer alert advising those selling their cars to first clear all data stored in the vehicle’s electronic systems.

As more and more personal data is being regularly downloaded via synching smartphones, laptops and tablets while in your personal vehicle, it is very possible that personal and confidential data could remain behind in the car you are selling. And because any breach of personal data exposes you to potential identify theft or financial jeopardy, TSPA wants you in the know so you can minimize this very real risk.

Possible examples of personal information stored in your old car may include:

  • garage entry codes for home and/or office
  • address and phone information
  • private log-ins and passwords
  • personal location data
  • bank or credit card data gathered and stored on synched apps
  • satellite radio subscription services
  • apps that help you locate your car
  • apps that help you remotely unlock or start your car

What to do to protect yourself:

Some later model vehicles have a factory reset option that returns all settings to their original state. If you are unsure how to clear this data, your auto dealership may be able to help you, however the onus is on you to protect your security.

You may be able to find helpful data retrieval information in your owner’s manual or by visiting your vehicle manufacturer’s website for guidelines by model and year.

As CPAs, keeping sensitive financial client information protected is our top priority. That is why we are alerting you to this very real, but generally overlooked potential security threat. The more we each take charge of our personal data, the more secure we will be.