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.
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.