Not All Burglars Are Stupid
Not all burglars and thieves are stupid. Some of them use your electronic technology to rob you. The following are two examples of burglars using your vehicle’s GPS and your mobile phone to get what they want…to break into your home or your bank’s ATM.
Burglar uses GPS to Find your Home
The hypothetical incident:
While attending a football game, their car was broken into. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control and a GPS navigation device, which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard.
When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen.
The burglars had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house.
The burglars knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents.
Most people enter and save their home address in their GPS device to use conveniently as a destination when returning from some place afar.
If you have a GPS device – don’t enter your home address as a favorite place or in it’s address book. An alternative to this is to enter a nearby address instead (like a store or a gas station) so you can use it safely on a return trip.
Many GPS units have password options; turn it on. Unless you know the code, you can’t get past the login screen.
Rely more on maps and memory, than GPS… although it certainly is convenient!
Thief uses Mobile Phone to Get your Pin
The hypothetical incident:
Her handbag, which contained her cell phone, credit card, wallet, etc., was stolen.
20 minutes later when she called her hubby from another phone telling him what had happened, hubby said, “I received your text message asking about our Pin number and I replied a little while ago.”
When they quickly went online to check their balance, they discovered that an ATM had been used to withdraw $500! The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text ‘hubby’ in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 10 minutes he had withdrawn the money from an ATM.
She has now changed her habit of how she lists her names on her mobile phone. Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list.
Though most mobile phones today require a password to unlock, just be sure you’re using that feature…
Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc. And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM by calling back.
Also, when you receive a text message from friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message is actually from them. If you don’t reach them, be very careful about going places to meet ‘family and friends’ who text you.
Continue reading: 7 Mistakes that Burglars Love You To Make
Very good points from Matt. I’ll add to the GPS and garage door opener. My old boss had her car broken into. They took the garage door opener and her registration. Went to her address on the registration and opened the garage door. Got a lot of good stuff out of the house before she made it home.
I black out the address on my registration and insurance card. No real reason for it to be on them anyway as the LEOs know your address when they run your plate if you’ve been pulled over. I checked with both California and Oregon Highway patrols and they both said no problem. Your local LEOs might differ so you might want to check.
Great idea about blacking out the address! I suppose you could simply explain the real reason why you did that when they ask (assuming you ever get pulled over).
Yolo, any particular brand come to mind when think trustworthy?
Ken, I’m probably one of he more electronically “challenged” folks on the site. I have my Garmin in front of me and it does have an entry for taking me home. I don’t see a way to change it. Any help from anybody would be appreciated.
It will ask if you want to “use this location” for home. Just stop somewhere within a few miles.
Make sure you don’t leave mail in the car. Our box is located on the corner along with numerous other boxes and I don’t pick up mail on the way out but wait until I’m coming home. No sense letting the bad guys have another way of finding out your address.
I’m a fanatic about having nothing visible in the car that would draw attention to a would be thief. Pocket change in the console is a can of food to somebody who is absolutely broke. Getting caught breaking into a car probably won’t have serious consequences and might even get the bad guy a few meals in the county lockup before the revolving door system puts him back on the street.
Very good information that I hadn’t considered, in both the article and comments. Thanks to all; I need to go make some changes.
Yep… In my GPS for the truck, I simply have the center of town saved.
“Though most mobile phones today require a password to unlock, just be sure you’re using that feature…”
If you want to take things a step further, install an “app lock” app on your phone. This will require you to enter another password to unlock any apps you wish to protect (eg: text messaging app, phone app, email app, etc). Be sure to install one from a trust worthy brand though.
Keep your screen clean so people can’t use the smudges to figure out which digits you’re using. If they can tell which numbers you’re using it significantly reduces the number of combinations they have to try.
Change your password from time to time especially if you’ve been frequenting public spaces.
Hospice nurses and medication delivery people have had their cars broken into in order to obtain either narcotic pain relievers or the records of patients that receive deliveries.
In the SF Bay Area one such car clouting of a hospice RN led to a number of home invasions at the addresses of hospice patients within the following 72 hrs.
Fixed facilities like hospitals are beefing up their security by installing computerized dispensing stations like Pixis or Omnicell machines to cut down on employee theft within the hospitals.
Increasingly, pharmacies are relocating to a more secure building and installing security measures to prevent the smash and grab type robberies. ( one entrance and one exit only with steel posts planted in the front. Minimal amount of glass store front. Lots of brick and masonry walls.).
In my own neighborhood, I keep an eye out for the wandering utility van with the casually dressed driver and passenger “scanning” the neighborhood. Most legit delivery drivers move like they have a purpose/on a mission. They usually wear a uniform and the name on their business forms matches with the logo on the side of the vehicles.
I am one in the local small neighborhood watch that consists of old farts walking our dogs or taking the kids and grandkids to the local park every day. We are everywhere and we are watching.
A good high security dead bolt with keys on both sides of the garage door plus reinforced jams would stop most.