EXTRA: Selling your car, or selling your secrets?

11:55 PM, May 10, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida-- If you're trading in your old car, you always think to clear out your belongings like paper work and change, but there's one critical piece of information owners are leaving behind- something that could potentially put your and your family in danger.

What if I told you we had a road-map to your front door, and that just buying your old car would lead us right to your driveway?

It's how we found Tim Jubito, who thinks the whole thing is "very creepy."

But, we just followed the directions from his wife's used Toyota Avalon that was sitting in a car lot for sale. Her belongings were gone, but her personal information was still stored in the GPS. 

"I think that's very bad to not have that cleared out when you trade in the vehicle," said Jubito after we showed up at his door. "I would think when you trade that in, they would have that nulled on the vehicle, but undoubtedly, you're telling me it's not being done."

In dealership after dealership we found the same thing- cars on the lot that were cleaned up for sale, but not cleaned out of GPS information. 

Security Consultant Tyler Wildman says cleaning out your old info isn't the dealership's top priority.

"It's because everybody's busy, and the focus is on making the sale."

Wildman works with car dealerships to train their employees to protect against identity theft, and he says when it comes to your GPS, it's not just your address that people could use against you. 

"If your destination of your home is saved in your GPS and your garage door remote is programmed in to your car, that could be a recipe for disaster for anybody."

The keys to your old car could open up more than your home. Many new GPS systems will sync your phone's contacts to the car's database, and with so much information to remember, people aren't just keeping phone numbers in their contact lists. 

"A lot of people save their kids social, or their birth date, and other personal information in their contacts, and they don't think about it when they trade in that car that address, name, birth date-maybe even a credit card- could still be left in that contact database," Wildman warns. 

A GPS system typically adds value to the sale of a used car, but Wildman asks, how much is it really worth? 

"It's convenience, but there's always that double edged sword. On one hand there's convenience, on the other hand there's safety," he says. 

But for Tim Jubito, safety wins out every time. 

"Now they know exactly where she's at, how to get right here, like you did. And it is scary because you never know what people are out there getting," he says. 

We called some local dealerships and they told us they don't have policies in place to clean out the GPS or Navigation systems.

The best and safest thing is for you to take it into your own hands, and wipe out all of your information before trading in your car.

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