Electronic jamming devices have become cheap and accessible.
Unfortunately, thieves at tourist destinations have spotted this opportunity.
When leaving your car, it is important to check your vehicle to make sure that the doors are in fact locked.
The jamming device – how it works
With a minimum of knowledge, it has been become possible to buy a device that jam the electronic car key-fob signal that locks the car doors on standard passenger cars when pressed.
This means that when parking on holiday with your rental vehicle (or at home with your private car for that matter), it is essential that the car ‘acknowledges’ the lock-command by flashing its lights or making the small sound that some cars do.
If the car makes the acknowledgement by flashing lights or sound, it means that it has received the owner/driver command (electronic signal) from the key-fob.
If not, there may be somebody jamming the signal from the key fob in order to prevent the locking of the car. With the right device, it is relatively easy to produce interference that can block the low powered signal from a modern car key.
Next step for the thief is obviously to let the owner of the car leave in good faith, enter the car and go through the vehicle for any valuables when the thief is left to his own devices. For the thief, this is very easy as no breaking is necessary when the lock has not been activated.
The impossible break in – not so impossible anymore
For the rental car customer, the situation of having the car burgled can become even more of a headache when no visible sign of a break in is there.
As insurance companies, in general, only cover if there is clear evidence of break in, the valuables in the car may easily be lost with no possibility for making an insurance claim with the simple jamming of the electronic remote key lock.
The only ways to prevent a bad experience is to take the following advice:
1) Don’t ever leave any valuables in your rental car in the first place.
2) Never stop and leave the car with all your suitcases in it – unless you have the car in site. Break ins (physical or with jamming device) can take place outside restaurants, close to popular viewpoints and even at some gas filling station (the risk of break in and theft at gas stations is mostly confined to ‘bad’ areas) – or if you leave ‘something interesting’ visible in the car.
3) Never open the trunk and leave your passport, purse or anything else at any tourist attraction parking. It is a direct invitation to the wrong people to burgle your rental car. These guys work in groups and have lookouts posted at such places with many rental cars parking.
4) Always check if the door to your rental car actually locked when you pressed the key fob – either by pulling the door handle or seeing the flashing lights.
5) Is there broken glass at the car parking, you better not park there. The burglars often return to the same ‘good spots’ to carry out their deeds.