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Car owners warned about break-ins

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Posted: 12 pm ET

It's becoming increasingly common for thieves to break into cars using high-tech electronic devices, but the National Insurance Crime Bureau, NICB, says there are several things that owners can do to protect themselves against car break-ins.

Car thieves have been using electronic scanner boxes to send a radio frequency signal that unlocks cars that have the keyless entry feature. "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. "Unfortunately, some of these devices are available on the Internet."

Once the car is unlocked, it's most common for the thieves to steal personal property or accessories that are in the car. The NICB says that more than $1 billion in personal property and accessories are stolen from cars each year.

© Dmitry Kalinovsky/

The NICB says that the key to reducing the risk of this type of theft is to keep items out of sight. It suggests hiding visible cargo (such as by closing the car's cargo cover), putting shopping bags in the trunk and hiding electronic devices and even the mounts and power cords for them when you leave the vehicle.

The NICB also reminds car owners to always close windows and the sunroof and lock the car every time you leave it.

Car insurance coverage can be tricky. Read Does car insurance cover all theft?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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August 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Now they have the trunk release on the dash of new cars so there is no reason to lock glove boxes on new cars the old cars it's still in glove box.

Bob Hage
August 15, 2014 at 9:48 am

Now if you put your valuables in the trunk, you need to use the trunk lock in you glove compartment and lock the glove box. Now the thieves can't hit the trunk opener to get into the trunk.

August 15, 2014 at 3:10 am

car safety

Awesome James
August 14, 2014 at 11:04 pm

So tell everyone to use the car lock on the auto when getting out to lock the car and only use the remote key entry when you are leaving your parking area.

August 14, 2014 at 8:05 pm

This is breaking news 1983... The same transmitters they use to activate the keyless entry also will deactivate the alarm and unlock the doors. This is a 30 year old story. When they run out of things to print do they just look at old news stories and re-tell them?

August 14, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Does the thief with the scanner have to pick up the frequency when you are remotely locking your car? Would it help to use your key to lock the doors when in large, public parking lots and garages to prevent this from happening?

August 14, 2014 at 5:48 pm

I think you both need to get smarter.

August 14, 2014 at 5:28 pm

It is alarming that all crime is on the rise and that the "criminals" have become more adept at their "trade". Crime, especially, theft, has become a billion dollar industry and all the advice that can be given to protect oneself from these crimes is to hide our things! I also want to comment on the first comment from care package. Isn't it odd that the only thing this person got from your article is the misuse of the phrase, "They are getting smarter". That person's comments is proof that he/she is absolutely right...No one get's smarter.

care package
August 14, 2014 at 5:04 pm

They aren't getting smarter. That's impossible. No one get's smarter. You can get more educated, but not smarter. Genetics decides that. There is a difference. You can get dumber though, only because things are in a state of decay over time.