The Dangers Of Using Bluetooth In Rental Cars

The Dangers Of Using Bluetooth In Rental Cars

Bluetooth I’m an early adopter. Have you ever used Ello or the now defunct Zomato? I was there from the get-go on both of those. When it comes to anything technology related I like getting on board first. While this can be expensive, it does make for interesting conversations around the home office. Especially when one of these technologies fizzled out, remember MySpace.

Case and point, Bluetooth, from the time it hit the cell phone market I was hooked.  At one point I even had a Bluetooth headset that matched my phone, cue Carley Simon’s “You’re So Vain“. I’ve been through almost every manufacturer; from Plantronics to Motorola I think I’ve tried them. I travel with an Oontz Bluetooth speaker that I use for presentations and my car is equipped with Ford Sync. Bluetooth has helped to eliminate cords from my life.

While I am a fan, there is a downside to Bluetooth, and it involves rental cars. It’s great that I can drive and interact with my phone hands-free, but there’s a chance of leaving my digital footprint behind when I return my rental.



Case and point, the picture above is from last week’s rental. At least four previous renters connected their cellphone via Bluetooth, and I now have access to their call logs as well as their contact list if they decided to download it to the car. Yes, unbelievably most phones will automatically download your contact list; it doesn’t know it’s a rental. I’m not Cyberphobic, but if you’ve ever wanted some insight into the social engineering side of security and hacking then read The Art of Deception by Kevin Mitnick, it’ll open your eyes.



In the words of Underdog, “There’s no need to fear“, as most cars offer the option to “Delete Phone” or “Clear User Data”. Worse case look under settings and perform a “Factory Reset”.  In addition, if your rental is equipped with a navigation system and you use that instead of Waze, make sure to clear the destination settings, you don’t want someone knowing where you went or possibly, where you live. Just read The Art of Deception.

If all of the above is a bit overwhelming, you can always buy a Bluetooth In-Car Speakerphone and take your footprint with you.

If you happen to be selling your daily driver, do yourself a favor and clear your data on those devices.

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