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Electronics are a thief’s weapons

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By Capt. Jim Burton

I was told these stories that I want to share with you all about the remote keyless entry buttons common on most new cars. They broadcast a signal that can be intercepted and captured by today’s geeky criminals.

As the first story goes, the man says he locked his car with the remote. As he walked away he heard his door unlock. He went back and locked the car three different times; then he looked around and saw two guys sitting in a nearby car. When he looked directly at the men the car did not unlock again.

Another report describes a man who pulled into at a roadside park. He came back to his car less than 45 minutes later and found that someone had entered his car and stolen various items. He could find no obvious signs of forced entry to the car.

The police told him about a device that criminals are now using to clone your security code when you lock your car from outside with the remote. The device captures the signal from your remote and allows the criminal to open you car. They will sit in a parking lot and watch people using their remotes.

There is a way to prevent this; always lock your car manually when exiting. This prevents the remote code from being transmitted and captured by this cloning device.

‘Skimmers’

Another way some criminals are using electronics to steal is a “skimmer.” When you hand your credit card to the waitperson at a restaurant, for them to take to the register, the card can be swiped through this small device that is easily concealed in an apron or pocket and it copies your personal information that can be used to access you accounts.

The best way to prevent this is to carry your credit or bank card to the register yourself, and watch the cashier swipe the card. Never lose sight of your card when using it for a transaction.

As you can see, criminals are constantly looking for new ways to commit crimes. Always be aware and cautious, and lock your cars and homes to keep yourself from becoming a victim.

Capt. Jim Burton is the commander of the Sheriff’s Southwest District office, 9048 S. W. Hwy. 200. For more information, call 402-6060.