You return to your car in a municipal parking lot. Settling in behind the wheel, you notice that the glove box and center console are open and have been tampered with. Change, papers, and electronics are missing. You get out and check your car for signs of forced entry. There are none. You distinctly recall locking your car. How could you have been robbed?
Easy because the thief purchased a $5 gadget that is a code grabber.
Technology has given us tools to save time and energy. Remote keyless entry systems arrived in the late ’80s. They weren’t without flaws in the early days, but the auto industry made them more effective by the mid-’90s.
After 20 years, keyless entry has become an ingrained habit. It’s great when your hands are full or for finding your car when you’ve forgotten exactly where you parked. You know your car’s beep as intimately as your dog’s bark or your child’s voice saying “Mom” in a busy shopping mall.
But with every technological invention, geeks are looking for ways to improve it, develop additional applications, or hackers seeking flaws and something to exploit.
Now there is a $5 gadget that thieves use to easily unlock your car. No longer do they need to smash and grab to get at appealing items in your car. To an observer, they don’t raise suspicion when they’re breaking in. Members of your household can use these gadgets to advantage where multiple cars in the driveway need to be shuffled as family members come and go.
It’s time to assess your habits, especially if you’re accustomed to leaving anything of value in your car, such as the following:
- You go running, hiking, or visit the gym and lock your wallet/purse in the trunk. They can open the door and pull the trunk latch.
- You put parcels into the trunk. Your walk from the store through the parking lot with boldly branded bags makes it easy for a thief to target your car next.
- You leave valuables in your car even though you live in a safe neighborhood. What is a safe place? Video shows the theft but doesn’t remove the inconvenience, and the goods are rarely recovered.
- You live in a condo with full-time security. It’s relatively easy for a thief to follow a resident’s car into the garage, and even when that’s reported it is rare for a security person to accost a thief.
Habits are often labeled as good or bad. But what truly matters is whether or not your habit is getting you the results you want. Thanks to the geeks, banks have had to educate us to cover up the keypad when entering our PIN at the ATM. That practice reduces fraud at that touchpoint, but now there are new ways to get your PIN.
It is tempting to think a robbery won’t happen to you. If you haven’t gone through the pain and inconvenience of a smash-and-grab robbery, it’s hard to imagine.
While on a business trip, a colleague and I stopped for dinner at an upscale restaurant. We returned to the car and were upset to find broken glass and our luggage gone. Filing the theft report at the police station, we realized that the thieves had a well-defined modus operandi. They targeted restaurant parking lots, where businesspeople openly put their valuables into the trunk. They only targeted SUVs and smashed the small side window, opened the hatch, and took off with the goods. To the police, the dozen of us who had been victims of this crime must have looked like sitting ducks.
This new gadget signals a time to change your thinking and habits. A thief can target any type of car in the parking lot without drawing any attention to themselves. It makes you wonder about the implications for the car insurance industry and our rates.
We need an app that will defend our vehicle against this gadget. If this were only a movie, one of the good guys would come to the rescue by creating a “code grabber disabler” or make an app for our smart phones. Until that day arrives, however, you may need to change what you do with your belongings when you’d rather not carry them around with you.
Why do we need to do things differently? There are gadgets created daily forcing us to change a habit whether we want to or not.
Share your experiences……
What habits have you adjusted because of new gadgets?
Image Credits: Deposit Photos