Criminals looking to steal vehicles across the UK are using cheap tracking devices to track the location of drivers.
This new car theft threat sees thieves use tracking devices to track, monitor and steal vehicles.
Organised crime syndicates are successfully using the technology.
In many instances, these cars are ‘stolen to order’ by thieves.
A police report showed that criminals were able to ship a car to Africa, with the police believing the tracking tag was a ‘proof of postage’ by the thieves.
The tag was hidden in the roof lining – however, the shipment was stopped by the police at a Belgian port.
There has been a growing trend of thieves using cheap tracking devices to steal expensive vehicles while reducing the risk of being caught by the police.
Trackers are attached to luggage or attached to possession to help the rightful owner find their items through their smart device.
The mobile phone must be within 20 metres of the tracker – allowing criminals to easily monitor the stolen vehicle.
Criminals can therefore track the movements of the car and its owner before stealing it.
It is usually when the owner has just parked or if the car is unlocked when the crime occurs.
What can you do to stop these thieves?
These tags and trackers are as small as a coin and can be very hard to spot – especially if they have been placed in a hard to find place on your vehicle.
Most people don’t regularly check their vehicles – so these small devices can often go unseen.
In order to keep your vehicle as safe as possible, there are some important things that you can do.
- Park in a well-lit area with plenty of other vehicles
- Use dashcams and CCTV where possible.
- Lock your vehicle and use ant-theft tools, so that even if someone breaks in, they cannot drive away
- Have your own tracking device installed so if the worst should happen you can provide the details to the police
- There are some apps you can use to scan for tracking devices including Tracker Detect and Samsung’s SmartThings
- Check places such as wheel arches, fuel caps, roof linings and storage areas
DC Chris Piggott, of the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, said: “With some gangs able to access keyless vehicles with specialist equipment, we’re concerned that motorists could be leading clued-up criminals to their valuable possessions.
“The tagging devices being used each contain features which allow people to detect and disable them, so it’s worth motorists familiarising themselves with these as well as checking their home security measures.”
Key hacking – be aware
If you own a vehicle with keyless technology – then you should be extra aware of the risks.
Car hacking is a serious problem for car owners, and it is important to be prepared.
Thieves attack built-in systems that can unlock a car when the key is nearby, without having to press a button on the fob or put a key in the lock.
If close to the car, the key sends a short-range signal that tells it to unlock it.
Leave your keys far away from the vehicle when you are not using it – or buy a bag that is specifically designed to protect your keyless tech from these signals.