Guiding consumers since 2009

Jamming device scam still problematic for SA drivers

By Staff Writer

MUA Insurance Acceptances has reiterated the importance of drivers checking their cars are locked if they want to avoid break-ins thanks to the jamming device scam which still appears to be a popular tactic among vehicle thieves.


This warning follows after the 2011/2012 South African Police Service Crime Report issued this week revealed a 4,8% increase in theft out of or from motor vehicles. Research indicates that the remote jamming scam has become the second most commonly used method to steal vehicles or the contents kept inside.


The jamming scam involves criminals making use of a third party remote control which interferes with the motorist’s remote control if both are used at the same time. “It is believed that these remotes are set to the same frequency as some manufacturer’s remotes, which then jam the vehicle’s remote control frequencies, preventing the electronic central locking system from operating successfully,” said Christelle Fourie, Managing Director of MUA Insurance Acceptances.


“It is alleged that the ‘thieves’ watch someone arrive and once they are out of the vehicle press their remote and hold it down, jamming the remote control locking mechanism of the vehicle. When the owner attempts to “lock” their vehicle the signal is jammed and the vehicle remains unlocked, though the owner is none the wiser,” explains Fourie.


Fourie warns that theft with no sign of forcible entry is often repudiated by insurers. “Whether an insurance company will pay out on such a claim is highly uncertain and would of course vary greatly between insurers and policies. However, for a claim to be successful the insurer would likely request some form of proof from the client, which is particularly tricky unless you not only happen to park in view of a security camera but are also able to obtain the footage which supports your version of events.”


“We have heard of examples of insurers obtaining CCTV footage after receiving such a claim and then seeing someone open a car and steal the contents. However, it is advisable for all consumers to double check that their vehicle has been properly locked before walking away.”


She added that best practice would be not to leave anything of value in the vehicle; however, if it is necessary to do so then it is important to make sure that nothing is visible. “For example, in the case of SUV’s and station wagons, there is usually a cover that can be pulled over the boot area to hide any items left in the car. While it is more costly, it may also be advisable when your client is looking to purchase a new car, to suggest that they consider extra security features such as smash and grab film on the windows.”
 

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