Recently, my wife and I attended a meeting to organize a neighborhood watch committee in our area. A representative from the local PD was present to explain how it works, local crime history, etc, and to offer general security tips. One of her points of advice was to not leave your vehicle registration in the car, because a criminal could use the information on it to steal your identity. My first thought was “bullshit”, so I asked her to clarify how they could steal my identity. She stammered out a response along the lines of “Well, all your identifying information is on there. They could use that to apply for credit or get a social security card in your name”. I sensed that she was scrambling for an answer, so I didn’t press on.
When I got home, I pulled my registration out and reviewed the info on there. Aside from the typical info on my vehicle (make, model, year and VIN), the only other personal info on there was my name and address –which is plastered on every piece of junk mail I receive, and even listed in the phone book and on personal search websites. So what gives? What can someone really do with my name and address? What could they do with my vehicle details? I doubt they could even get the car re-titled or registered in someone else’s name without a reasonable amount of proof that they own the car -which I have. I want to chalk this up to fear mongering by a misinformed public official, but really what’s the straight dope on this?