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August 06, 2014

Did You Lock Your Car? It Might Not Be Safe Enough!

Car_thief-thinkstock-155251967-sI don't know about you, but I can't walk away from my car without clicking the keyfob two or three times to make sure my car is locked. However, recent news has shown that criminals using high-tech electronic devices are still able to steal personal items from locked cars. These reports are alarming, but the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) says car owners can take some steps to protect themselves against break-ins.

The keyless entry feature on newer cars is a popular advancement that lets drivers unlock their cars with the simple click of a button on a key fob using radio frequency transmission. The convenient technology also helps prevent drivers from locking their keys in the vehicle. And I love that I can just leave my keys in my purse all the time and not have to worry about looking for them when it's time to go somewhere.


Car_thief-thinkstock-178068408-sNot surprisingly, thieves have found a way to partially outwit this keyless technology using electronic “scanner boxes.” These small, handheld devices are like a digital "slim jim" and can pop some factory-made electronic locks in seconds, allowing thieves to get into the vehicle and steal personal items left inside.

“Our law enforcement partners tell us they are seeing this type of criminal activity and have recovered some of the illegal devices,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “And unfortunately, some of these devices are available on the Internet.”

Car_thief-thinkstock-185362918-sEvery year, more than a billion dollars in estimated personal property and accessories are stolen from vehicles, but car owners can reduce their risk by taking the following standard safety precautions recommended by the NICB:

• Lock your vehicle no matter where you leave it.
• Close windows and sun roofs.
• Hide tempting items, including navigation systems (even the suction cup mounts), phone or electronic device adaptors and power plugs.
• Put shopping bags in the trunk.
• Conceal visible cargo.

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword “fraud” to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app  on your iPhone or Android device.

The NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. To learn more, visit www.nicb.org.

 

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