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Look out for car jammers when you park your car

“Jamming can interfere with various types of wireless equipment, including the alarm panel, cellphone communication, detectors, fleet tracking systems and radio reporting to a control room.”

Anyone who has fallen victim to remote jamming will know that sinking feeling when you open your boot and there’s nothing there – no laptop, no handbag, no gym shoes.

You look around, dumbfounded. My car was locked. How did this happen?

According to Charnel Hattingh, Fidelity Services Group, group head of marketing and communications, remote jamming is nothing new but it’s not getting old for criminals either.

Hattingh said remote jamming is when thieves jam the signal from the immobiliser to the car, so it doesn’t lock even when the owner presses the ‘lock’ button.

A remote jammer is any device that deliberately blocks, jams or interferes with authorised wireless communications, she added.

“Jamming can interfere with various types of wireless equipment, including the alarm panel, cellphone communication, detectors, fleet tracking systems and radio reporting to a control room,” Hattingh explained.

“It goes well beyond your and my car in a shopping centre parking area. These criminals are not only committing theft out of motor vehicles but also theft of motor vehicles, hijacking of vehicles/trucks and cargo and house and business robberies by using remote jamming.”

“This well-practised tactic is especially alive and well in public places because, sadly, motorists continue to be vulnerable to it.”

She highlighted that remote jamming is prevalent in parking areas at shopping malls and petrol stations, and that the thieves are often so brazen they don’t even leave the area after hitting their mark, but continue to target others.

Something to think about for insurance purposes, Hattingh added, is that since there is often no damage or signs of a break-in, insurance companies can refuse to cover the stolen items, unless you are with an insurer that stipulates this type of crime is covered.

“While it is reassuring to know you could be covered, the best scenario is to avoid the trauma that comes with being a victim of remote jamming, which is something that can be prevented, with heightened vigilance.

“A saving grace with an insurance claim may be that most shopping centres and especially garage forecourts have business security systems, like CCTV, which may help your case – or at least help you understand what happened.”

Fidelity provides these seven tips to avoid falling victim to remote jammers:

• Never lock your car and walk away. Check the doors to see if they are in fact locked. If your door opens, get in and drive away. Chances are that the criminals have targeted you.

• Be aware of your surroundings and of suspicious people loitering around the parking area or sitting in cars.

• Look around as you drive in and before you park. Follow your gut instinct and report suspicious-looking people to security or move your car to a safer place.

• Remember that when you open your boot everyone around you can see what’s inside, especially if they are eagerly waiting for this. A boot with a visible laptop or other valuables can make you an instant target.

• Never leave valuables in plain sight in the car.

• Always park in the safest location, where there are many other cars and security guards.

• Think about real-time car GPS tracking for added peace of mind.

“South Africans have voted in the 2024 national and provincial elections. Crime is undoubtedly one of the biggest areas of concern as it continues to affect all us on a daily basis.

“Elections or not, we can vote to stay safe by increasing vigilance and using common sense. Being security conscious should be a habit not an after-thought,” Hattingh concluded.

Also Read: Kidnappings: Ways to protect your children

Also Read: The reality is kidnappings are on the rise in SA – get your children street smart

   

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