dave-mittlemanI recently received a startling email that I thought was extremely important to share on how to properly lock your car. While this might seem like a pretty straightforward concept, several people shared their stories in the email about a new device that thieves are using to rob your car–even when you think it’s already locked.

Here is the story according to one individual affected by this scam:

I locked my car. As I walked away I heard my car door unlock. I went back and locked my car again three times. Each time, as soon as I started to walk away, I would hear it unlock again! Naturally alarmed, I looked around and there were two guys sitting in a car in the fire lane next to the store. They were obviously watching me intently, and there was no doubt they were somehow involved in this very weird situation. I quickly chucked the errand I was on, jumped in my car and sped away. I went straight to the police station, told them what had happened, and found out I was part of a new, and very successful, scheme being used to gain entry into cars. Two weeks later, my friend’s son had a similar happening.

Indeed, the friend’s son was also the victim of the car unlocking scheme:

While traveling, my friend’s son stopped at a roadside rest to use the bathroom. When he came out to his car less than 4-5 minutes later, someone had gotten into his car and stolen his cell phone, laptop computer, GPS navigator, briefcase… you name it. He called the police and since there were no signs of his car being broken into, the police told him he had been a victim of the latest robbery tactic — there is a device that robbers are using now to clone your security code when you lock your doors on your car using your key-chain locking device.

Robbers will sit just a short distance away, waiting for you to go into the grocery store, restaurant or bathroom, knowing they have only a short amount of time to unlock your car and steal your valuables.  When you hit the electronic “lock” button on your key fob from a distance, say as you are walking away from your car, a security code is sent through airwaves.  Thieves have the device to capture this signal and use it to unlock your car doors after you walk away.  It is much better for you to immediately lock your car upon exiting your vehicle since an electronic signal isn’t sent through the airwaves when you are close to the car.  Police advice us to lock our car doors the old-fashioned way–manually, by pressing down the lock button on the door panel.

After doing some research of my own on the Internet, I discovered a slew of contradictory information about the validity of code grabbing from remote keyless entry.  However, it seems it’s better to be safe than sorry: please pass this information on to your friends, family, and other loved ones so that they aren’t the victims of theft.