Renting a car is commonplace in the US and abroad. In 2018 the U.S. car rental market hit a new revenue record, passing $30 billion in revenues for the first time.
We get garb the keys, pick the car we want and we’re off. First thing most people do is sync their phone to the car.
As easy as it is you need to be aware of some serious issues. Past drivers’ phone models, contacts, call logs, internet radio stations, and GPS information can be accessed through the infotainment system of the rental car. When we’re talking about call logs, we’re talking about the date, time, and duration of a phone call to a specific number, and whether the call was incoming or outgoing. This information can be used to put a name to a number through internet search engines, and then paired with GPS tracking data to put number to name to place.
Along with digital data, physical evidence that gives the next renter information about you can be left in the car. While rental agency workers are supposed to thoroughly clean each car between rentals, they commonly miss details like dropped business cards and hotel keys.
While rental agencies should do a factory reset on the car’s computer to wipe any synched personal information or devices from the car, many do not. This is because it is currently legally unclear whose responsibility data security is in this context. That means the default is you.
Here is how to protect yourself against revealing too much information to the next rental car driver:
1. Clean the car out yourself thoroughly. Don’t trust the rental agency to do this for you. Make sure to remove every physical trace of yourself and your trip from the car before you turn in the keys.
2. Reset the computer system on the car before you return it. This process can vary between all of the makes and models of cars, which is likely a major reason why a factory reset is not a routine part of cleaning protocol between renters. In most cases, simply go to the Settings menu and choose “Factory Reset.” This wipes your GPS and call history from the car and makes the computer system forget your phone. Unless the next renter is a forensics specialist – who has ways of recovering wiped data from the car – your data will be safe.
For more than three decades Jean Mignolet has served in law enforcement and private investigation, managing all aspects of general investigative business. She specializes in in-depth background investigations and is the top choice of attorneys, corporations, small business owners and individuals who require all types of investigative services.
Contact us at: Mignolet@Bellsouth.net
Call us at: 954-523-8737 or 954-336-9363