The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is releasing a warning to customers who use rental cars frequently. They are warning that consumers should not use the "connected car" features that allow them to use their phone or other devices through the infotainment system of the car. This even includes using it for money.
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“If you connect a mobile device, the car may also keep your mobile phone number, call and message logs, or even contacts and text messages,” the FTC said in an advisory released on Tuesday. “Unless you delete that data before you return the car, other people may view it, including future renters and rental car employees or even hackers.”
This includes any type of syncing that you might do. You also want to make sure that your phone isn't set to do that automatically - especially if your rental car is similar to the one that you traditionally drive - because it might just sync automatically. You want to avoid using anything that might use your USB port, save for the car charger. Take a look at your phone and ensure that you don't have automatic syncing set up, because that can cause you problems in a lot of ways.
Consumers who do decide to connect their devices should look at any requests for permission before agreeing to them. Before you are done using the car, ensure that you wipe anything from the car's memory that may have been uploaded from your phone. It might seem a bit overzealous, but it can help you in the long run.