The National Insurance Crime Bureau warns that Thieves have found a way to outwit keyless entry systems, warns the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
Keyless entry systems let drivers unlock their cars at the touch of a button using a key fob.
Crooks are using electronic "scanner boxes" -- small, handheld devices that can pop some electronic locks in seconds -- to open doors and then steal stuff from inside cars.
"Our law enforcement partners tell us they are seeing this type of criminal activity and have recovered some of the illegal devices," NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle said in a written statement. "And unfortunately, some of these devices are available on the Internet."
More than $1 billion in personal belongings and accessories are stolen from vehicles every year, but car owners can reduce the risk of theft by following these tips:
- Lock the car no matter where it's parked.
- Close windows and sun roofs.
- Hide items that might tempt thieves, such as navigation systems (including the telltale suction cup mounts), phone adapters and power plugs.
- Stash shopping bags in the trunk.
- Conceal belongings.
Generally car insurance covers only auto-related equipment -- not personal belongings in a car. Personal items in the car may be covered under a home or renters insurance policy.
Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., and supported by the insurance industry, the NICB is a nonprofit focused on preventing and fighting insurance fraud and vehicle theft.