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Posted: June 02, 2017

How some car owners are putting themselves at risk after storm

By Lauren Coleman,

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —

Some of the major property damage from Saturday’s storm around Memphis are crushed cars.

The destroyed vehicles are now popping up in salvage yards.

If your vehicle was destroyed, you may be opening up yourself to thieves and not even know it.

Mid-Town Auto Parts and Salvage has nearly 1500 cars on its lot.

On average the company gets about 15 cars a day including cars from accidents, breakdowns, and even storm damage.

Owner Larry Walker said he expects to get more cars that were damaged in Saturday night’s storm.

“Yea we’ll get a few of them, a lot of people have insurance so the insurance companies will take care of that,” Walker said.

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Car parts aren’t the only things that can be found on the lot. Walker said as crews clean out cars, they run across documents with personal information.

“More often than you believe,” Walker said.

“We’ve had ID’s that have been left in cars that we take out or mail back or put in our box to wait form them to show back up to pick it up.”

But some things can get overlooked. Crumbled pieces of paper like bills and receipts can fall in-between and under seats.

FOX13 looked through six cars and found a parking ticket that listed a person’s date of birth, driver’s license number, and address.

Walker said something as simple as this could put someone at risk.

Nancy Crawford with the Better Business Bureau said car owners should make sure cars are completely cleaned out before going to a lot.

“They can then use that one piece of information to go somewhere else and masquerade it as you even online to open new accounts maybe get lights turned on,” Crawford said.

She said personal information obtained in this way can be more dangerous.

“People who have identity offline from physical pieces of information actually don’t realize that they’ve been the victim of identity theft as quickly as someone who had it happen online,” Crawford explained.

Crawford said drivers should not leave documents like social security cards in their car and to only carry them when needed.

Walker also said it’s important to remove license plates that are still up to date in order to avoid someone using it for themselves. 

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