Watch out connected car drivers, July and August are the best months for car thefts. That’s why it is National Vehicle Theft Protection Month. Nationally, a motor vehicle is stolen on average every 45 seconds, and safeguarding against this threat contributes to the insurance industry’s annual revenue of over $1.6 trillion. The most important thing to do is to lock your car and do not leave valuables in the car.
- Car Cloning: Thieves create and install a fake vehicle identification number (VIN), allowing a stolen vehicle to go unnoticed. Hackers then use the stolen VINs to create false new documents, hiding the fact that the underlying vehicle is stolen.
- Scanner Boxes: These are devices that can exploit an electronic system utilized by key fobs. Criminals can then unlock, and even start, a vehicle without even touching the key.
- Luxury Vehicle Theft Rings: Organized crime rings target higher value vehicles, which can then be cut up for parts, re-sold or shipped overseas. These theft rings utilize complex schemes, such as copying smart keys and using stolen credit reports to illegally finance vehicles.
- Identity Theft – Thieves are targeting the data available within the car, including credit card details, location information, Social Security Numbers and drivers license numbers.
- Ransomeware – Cybercriminals could leverage ransomware to break into a vehicle, disable the engine and brakes, and demand payment to restore the car to its functional state.
These criminals are smart, connected and more difficult to impede. They are targeting not only vehicles but also on-board data that once obtained, can be damaging and difficult to recover.
Top 10 States for most vehicles stolen in CY 2014:
2. Texas 3. Florida
7. New York
Vehicle theft is a very expensive crime, with the cost of stolen vehicles pegged at more than $4.1 billion – that’s billion with a “B”. And July is the month when more cars are stolen than any other month.
THIEVES WANT PARTS AND VALUABLE ITEMS, TOO.
Radios and wheel covers aren’t the only popular stolen vehicle parts thieves take. They want whatever sells, from the mandated labeled parts to those that aren’t. Among some of the most popular parts or items left in vehicles are: engines, transmissions, air bags, radios, GPS units, phones/iPads, laptops, and purses.
To protect against the Connected Vehicle Thief, LoJack recommends the following safety tips:
- Watch your data – Be aware that personal data stored in your vehicle, such as your credit card information or home address in an on-board GPS system, could be vulnerable to theft.
- Update software – Download the latest firmware and software upgrades from the vehicle manufacturer as they become available. Ask about updates when visiting the service department of your dealership.
- Check for recalls – Stay abreast of vehicle-enabled cyberattacks, and check with your car manufacturer about any security recalls or alerts.
- Deploy theft protection – Immobilizers and visible, audible warning devices are good deterrents and can provide advanced protection.
- Track your car – Consider installing a tracking device operated by law enforcement so that stolen assets have a better chance of being recovered.
- Take it with you: Do not leave smartphones and tablets unattended as they can be used to access more data, putting the owner at even more risk. Use proper safety protocols with ever-increasing keyless ignitions.
- Common Sense: Never leave keys in the vehicle with the engine running, don’t hide a spare key in the car, and lock all doors when exiting the vehicle. It seems obvious, but car owners are still victimized by not taking these basic safety precautions.