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Arizona leads the nation in reported cases of identity theft. According to the Arizona Republic, metropolitan Phoenix also ranks fourth in the nation in reported cases of automobile theft as well. Considering these statistics together raises some concerns for drivers in Phoenix who leave various personal documents inside their cars. The Republic cautions that based on identity and auto theft risks,

Phoenix police are seeing more crimes in which thieves break into a car to take documents, sometimes snagging a remote garage-door opener to pillage the vehicle owner’s home.

Unfortunately, it may no longer be appropriate to leave personal information inside your unattended vehicle. For example, leaving title inside your vehicle allows criminals to attempt to steal your car and obtain a fraudulent title transfer. Also, insurance cards containing your address may lead criminals directly to your doorstep while you are away. You may need to take these identifying documents with you when you leave your vehicle unattended. Other documents containing personal information can expose you to identity theft. In short, according to the Phoenix Police Department,

Cars can be a great place for thieves to get crucial information about you. Phoenix police and the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority offer the following tips:

• Take your vehicle registration, insurance cards or any other identifying information with you.

• Remove garage-door openers.

• Do not leave your purse or wallet in the glove box or under the seat.

• Routinely clean out your car to remove identifying papers and other items.

• As a backup, set up a P.O. box to receive mail on vehicles, insurance and other important documents; it safeguards your address.

Following these suggestions will not completely eliminate risks of identity or auto theft. However, these steps may reduce risks and make identity theft more difficult for criminals looking for crimes of opportunity.

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