My car registration was stolen. Should I be worried?

Car registrations are stolen for a variety of reasons, often for identity theft. If you notice your car registration is missing, report the incident immediately and file a police report. By taking this step, you're establishing the time, date, and location of the theft. This is essential documentation in case someone tries to use your registration information.

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Why do car thieves steal registrations?

The most common reasons for car registration theft include:

Obtaining the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Gaining access to your VIN may help thieves register illegal vehicles. They could also file claims on totaled cars or even create duplicate car keys. There have even been instances where individuals use a stolen car registration to walk into a dealership and drive off with a brand-new vehicle.

They're preparing for a break-in. Your car registration contains vital information, including your home address. Depending on what the thieves find in your car, they may target additional valuables kept at your residence. Although this specific scenario is less likely to occur, be sure to take extra security precautions in the days, weeks, and months following a vehicle theft or burglary.

If you notice your car registration is missing, report the incident immediately and file a police report.

What should I do if my car registration was stolen?

Take these steps immediately following a car registration theft:

  1. File a police report. If your car was broken into and you notice your car registration or license plate sticker was stolen, include it in the report. These pieces of documentation can have a harmful and long-lasting financial impact on your life if someone steals them.
  2. Inform your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Guidelines on how to report car registration theft and replace a stolen vehicle registration vary by state. Contact your state's DMV and make sure they add your duplicate registration request in their system due to theft.
  3. Report the theft to your insurance provider. After notifying your state's DMV, contact your auto insurance provider. They should be aware of the situation in case you end up submitting a claim.

Tips for deterring car thieves

There are many ways our identity can be comprised. Be proactive by implementing extra security measures:

Consider adding identity theft protection. While adding identity theft protection won't prevent identity theft, it allows you to monitor key warning signs and provides automated alerts if the system detects a threat. If you become a victim of identity theft, you'll have experts working on your behalf to restore and reclaim your identity.

Don't leave items in your car. Leaving a laptop or purse unattended in your vehicle is an invitation to car thieves. Once they've gained access to retrieve the targeted item, thieves might consider stealing other valuables, too, such as your car registration.

Always lock your car. Even if you're at home and it's parked in your driveway, locking your vehicle is an essential added security measure.

Be mindful of where you park. Whether you're running a quick errand or will be parked in a spot for several hours, park in a visible, high-traffic area whenever possible. This safety measure is especially critical when parking at night, as someone is less likely to break into your car if you're parked in a well-lit spot with lots of activity.

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