AUSTIN, Texas (July 31, 2015)–Thomas J. Henry recently worked aside Texas lawmakers to close a loophole which allowed anyone to access accident reports. Under old legislation, complete strangers and potential identity theives could pull multiple accident reports at a time, giving them access to an alarming amount of personal information.
In addition to information about the accident, reports taken by police also include the personal information of individuals involved. This includes:
- Date of birth
- Home address
- Driver’s license number
None of this information is redacted when an accident report is requested and obtained.
Under the new legislation, made effective June 18, access to accident reports is limited to those directly involved in the accident and their legal representatives. This restricted access means your personal data is better protected, significantly reducing the risk of identity theft.
While you might not realize it, identity theft can occur if a thief obtains your driver’s license number. In fact, the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego states that identity thieves commonly stage auto accidents in order to get this information.
If paired with additional information exposed in another identity breach, such as those recently experienced by Target and Home Depot, the identity thief would be able to open new lines of credit under your name, apply for housing, and even access your bank accounts and medical records.
Experts point out that information obtained from large breaches is commonly shared and sold though online black markets. As such, combining the bits of information is not only plausible – it is also relatively easy.