(Photo via Rick Ireton / MGN)

Renting a car? Beware of Bluetooth scammers

Many rental car drivers unwittingly open themselves to fraud when they sync their phones to the car’s Bluetooth connection.

The sync can remain active even after the car is returned, giving the next renter access to the contacts saved in the phones of previous renters.

Scammers can call those contacts, impersonate whomever they belong to, and ask for money or personal information.

An effective workaround is to plug the phone into the car’s USB port instead, according to Carrie Kerskie, director of the Identity Fraud Institute at Hodges University.

If you plug it into the USB cord, you’re actually still using the phone, but you can tie into some of those automated services without actually uploading your contacts,” Kerskie said. “If you sync by Bluetooth, it typically will upload your contacts into the vehicle’s memory.”

For those who insist on using Bluetooth, Kerskie recommends erasing the contacts from the car’s memory — or having the rental car company do so.