Personal information left in scrapyard vehicles makes prime picking for thieves
SPARKS, Nev. (News 4) —
Would-be-thieves may have prime picking of documents to steal your identity, thanks to what people leave behind in their vehicles.
After a bad wreck or when your car has reached the end of the road, it may end up at a junk yard or salvage yard, where the public can pick apart the vehicles for parts. But people are leaving personal documents inside the vehicles.
With a hidden camera News 4 paid to enter Pick-N-Pull in Sparks and purchased some car parts. In many of the vehicles you could find a lot of paperwork in plain sight. If that ended up in the wrong hands, it could do some real financial damage.
"Collections bill, telephone bill, Truckee Meadows bill," reporter Kim Burrows said as she shuffled through a stack of paperwork in one car.
Another vehicle had even more personal paperwork.
"Registration, check stubs, this is a pay check stub with some very private information on there," Burrows said. "This has got Bank of America information."
News 4 also found a library card where someone could also run up some charges.
It's up to the vehicle's owners to remove any personal items. The corporate office tells News 4 in an email that it does have a "de-garbage" policy prior to vehicles being placed in customer lots.
But Pick-N-Pull spokesman Colin Kelly would not say how so much personal property was still inside so many vehicles. As for an on-camera interview, Kelly said: "We would not be able to accommodate that request."
News 4 found credit card information, FICO credit history and pay stubs. One person filled out the back of a car's owner manual providing all their personal information. Paperwork was even blowing around the car lot.
Stacks of personal paperwork were inside a 1997 Buick Skylark. It belonged to Victor Wowo and his wife. News 4 tracked him down at his Sun Valley home
"If anybody can see it, I don't see anything bad in it," Wowo said.
He said he donated the Skylark to UNR, which sold the car. Wowo said he forgot to take out the paperwork.
News 4 tried to get the paperwork back for him but Pick-N-Pull would only give it to Wowo. He headed right down to the lot and retrieved it to keep it out of the hands of anyone who shouldn't have it.