DES PLAINES, Ill., Aug. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Recent news reports detailing the theft of personal items from locked cars by criminals using high-tech electronic devices may be alarming, but the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) says car owners can take some steps to protect themselves.
The key-less 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 technology also helps prevent drivers from locking their keys in the vehicle.
Not surprisingly, thieves have found a way to partially outwit the new technology using electronic "scanner boxes." These small, handheld devices 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."
Every 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.
About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., 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. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote $371 billion in insurance premiums in 2013, or more than 78 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 93 percent ($168 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.
SOURCE National Insurance Crime Bureau