A Cautionary Tale for Motorists

Lock your car manually in public places

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Police have confirmed that thieves are increasingly able to override the vehicle's remote locking system by capturing the security code sent to lock a car and then using it to unlock the car. Theft of car contents using this method is not always covered by insurance as there is no sign of a break in.

There is some confusion over the accuracy of this as Snopes reports the email below. Thanks to Joe McNocher for pointing this out. However the police have confirmed that thieves are using some type of electronic equipment that overrides the locking system. So take the story with a pinch of salt but be aware. As we get clarification we will share it.

"I locked my car. As I walked away I heard my car door unlock.

"I went back and locked my car again three times. I looked around and there were two men sitting in a car next to the corner shop. They were obviously watching me intently, and there seemed no doubt they were somehow involved in this very weird situation. I quickly abandoned my errand, jumped into my car and sped away.

"I went straight to the police station, told them what had happened, and found out I was part of a new, and very successful, scheme being used to gain entry into parked cars.

"Two weeks later, my friend's son had a similar experience on the motorway services. When he came out to his car less than 5 minutes later, someone had managed to get into his car and had stolen his mobile phone, laptop computer, sat-nav, briefcase and other belongings. He called the police and since there were no signs of his car having been broken into, the police told him he had probably been a victim of the latest robbery tactic – there is a device that robbers are using now to clone your security code when you lock your doors on your car using your remote locking device. They sit a distance away and watch for their next victim. They know you are going inside the Store, restaurant, or whatever and that they now have a few minutes to steal and run.

"The police officer said always to lock your car manually with the key when parking in a public area. That way if there is someone sitting in a car nearby watching for their next victim, it will not be you. When you lock up with the key upon exiting, it does not send the security code, but if you walk away and use the remote button, it sends the code through the airwaves where it can be easily intercepted by the device. Look how many times we all lock our doors with our remote just to be sure we remembered to lock them -- and bingo, someone has our code...and potentially whatever is in our car.

"My son recently had a brand new very expensive set of golf clubs stolen from his car. As there was no sign of a break in the police think that he was a victim of this method. Unfortunately the insurance company refused to honour his claim - because there was no sign that the car had been broken into! "

October 17, 2012

October 17, 2012