Auto Theft, Auto Break-ins and Identity Theft

The problem of auto theft is nearly a crime epidemic with the economy getting worse, thieves become more and more desperate. The following tips on reducing auto theft and avoiding having your car stolen

Top 50 Ways to Prevent Auto Theft

Common Sense Is Your Best Defense

1. Lock your vehicle, close all windows and sun roof, and take your keys.

2. Never hide a second set of keys in or on your vehicle. Thieves know all the hiding places.

3. Dont leave valuables in plain view. Items left in the open attract thieves.

4. Dont leave important documents such as bank statements, credit card bills/statements or other personal information in your vehicle. Thieves can use this information to steal your identity and access your bank and credit card accounts.

5. Never leave the registration or title in your car. If stolen, this makes it easier for the thief to dispose of your vehicle. Keep it with your drivers license or on your person.

6. Park in well lit areas with plenty of pedestrian traffic, or when possible, in attendant lots. If you have to leave your key with an attendant, leave only the ignition and door key.

7. Never leave your vehicle running unattended. Vehicles are commonly stolen at ATMs, convenience stores, etc.

8. Always use your emergency brake and leave your transmission in park (standard transmissions should be left in gear) when parked. Also, turn the wheels toward the curb. This makes towing your vehicle more difficult. Thieves use tow trucks to steal vehicles.

9. If your vehicle is rear-wheel drive, back into your driveway. Conversely, if your vehicle is front-wheel drive, pull forward into your driveway. Always use your emergency brake. This makes towing difficult.

10. If you have a garage, use it. When parked in a garage, lock the garage as well as your vehicle and close the windows.

11. Remove the electronic ignition fuse, coil wire, rotor, distributor, or otherwise disable your vehicle if you are leaving it unattended for an extended period.

12. Dont become complacent because you drive an older vehicle. Parts from older vehicles are in great demand. In older vehicles, replace T-shaped door locks with straight locks.

13. Engrave expensive accessories and major parts with your VIN or personal identification number. This aids police in tracing stolen items.

14. If your vehicle has an alarm or other anti-theft device, use it.

15. Drop your business card, address label or other information inside your vehicle doors. This will identify you and where your vehicle was titled and registered.

Investing In Vehicle Protection

16. In high theft areas, do not rely on just one anti-theft device.

17. Stolen vehicles are more easily traced when Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) have been etched on each of the windows. It also makes your vehicle less attractive to a professional car thief.

18. Ignition kill switches halt the fuel supply.

19. Visible steering wheel locks prevent the steering wheel from being turned.

20. Floorboard locks disable the gas or brake pedals, thus preventing the use of these pedals.

21. Gearshift locks disable shifting of the transmission.

22. Tire or wheel locks prevent the vehicle from moving.

23. Hood locks prevent thieves from gaining access to your security system and battery.

24. Armored collars around the steering column deter thieves from breaking into the steering column to get to the ignition wires.

Electric Security Systems

25. Audio alarms emit loud warning sounds when the doors, hood or trunk are opened.

26. Vehicle tracking systems, which are installed in your vehicle, are activated when your vehicle is stolen. These systems alert the police to the location of your vehicle for quick recovery.

Beware Of “Hot” Used Car Deals

27. Be suspicious of any deal that seems too good to be true.

28. When buying from a private individual, make sure the title and registration match the name and address of the person selling the vehicle.

29. Be cautious of a seller with no fixed address, place of employment, phone number or who only has a mobile phone or pager number.

30. Beware of a loose dashboard. It may indicate the VIN plate was replaced.

31. Thieves may remove the VIN plate and replace it with one from a similar wrecked vehicle. Be sure the VIN plate on the vehicles dash is present, secure and has no loose rivets. If the VIN plate is scratched or bent, tampering may have occurred. All 1970 and newer autos produced in North America have stainless steel rosette rivets with six petals and a hole in the middle. They are difficult to scratch with a knife. If in doubt about plate authenticity, check with a law enforcement agency.

32. The VIN on the dash must match the VIN on the registration, title and federal safety inspection sticker on the drivers door.
33. Make sure the federal safety inspection sticker located on the door or door jam is securely in place and none of the numbers appear to have been tampered with.

34. Check the engine identification number with the VIN and the federal safety inspection number on the driver door to ensure a match.

35. An excessively loose ignition switch may indicate tampering. Check the switch for chisel or pull marks.

36. Be wary of fresh paint on a newer vehicle. This may indicate an attempt to change the vehicles identity.

37. Check the inspection and license plate stickers to be sure they are current and issued by the same state.

38. Titles, especially from other states, and many registrations cards can be altered or counterfeited. Therefore, demand the title and registration card before paying and look them over carefully for apparent alterations. Also, make sure the title matches the registration.

39. Question the seller if the registration was recently issued on an older vehicle. This may

indicate the car was stolen in another state and fraudulently titled.

Carjacking

40. As you approach your vehicle be alert, have a plan of action and have your keys in your hands. Check around, under and in your vehicle for suspicious individuals. Immediately leave the scene if you have any suspicions.

41. If confronted, avoid verbal/physical confrontation — do exactly as you are told. If at all possible, never leave in the car with the carjacker.

42. Remember, you are more important than your vehicle, purse, wallet or any other valuables. Give them up and get out of harms way.

43. Once the thief leaves, immediately contact law enforcement. Be ready to provide a complete description of your vehicle, license plate and the suspects.

44. Once in your vehicle, lock your doors and keep the windows up while driving.

45. Leave room to maneuver around other vehicles when coming to a stop and be wary of people asking for directions or handing out fliers.

46. If bumped from behind and it seems suspicious, call the police from your car or move at a slow speed to a well lit, well populated area and immediately call the police.

Prevent Motorcycle Theft

47. Park in a well lit area or park with a group of other motorcycles.

48. Lock motorcycles together using a quality lock and chain or secure bikes to an immovable object when possible. Use a dual-lock system — a fork lock and a wheel lock.

49. Keep your vehicle registration and insurance information on your person. Secure your valuables. Dont leave jackets, helmets or any other valuables on your motorcycle.

50. Check on your motorcycle periodically.

If your car or items were stolen from your car you need to protect from Identity Theft

How do thieves steal an identity?

Identity theft starts with the misuse of your personally identifying information such as your name and Social Security number, credit card numbers, or other financial account information. For identity thieves, this information is as good as gold.
Skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to get hold of your information, including:

1. Dumpster Diving. They rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.

2. Skimming. They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.

3. Phishing. They pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.

4. Changing Your Address. They divert your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form.

5. Old-Fashioned Stealing. They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records, or bribe employees who have access.

6. Pretexting. They use false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies, and other sources.

How can you find out if your identity was stolen?
The best way to find out is to monitor your accounts and bank statements each month, and check your credit report on a regular basis. If you check your credit report regularly, you may be able to limit the damage caused by identity theft. Unfortunately, many consumers learn that their identity has been stolen after some damage has been done.

· You may find out when bill collection agencies contact you for overdue debts you never incurred.

· You may find out when you apply for a mortgage or car loan and learn that problems with your credit history are holding up the loan.

· You may find out when you get something in the mail about an apartment you never rented, a house you never bought, or a job you never held.

Take steps to respond to and recover from identity theft as soon as you suspect it.

Contact the FTC, place a alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports.

Contact the Federal Trade Commission to report the situation online at www.ftc.gov or call 1-877-438-4338. Or at

Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too. If you do not receive a confirmation from a company, you should contact that company directly to place a fraud alert.

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Get your free credit report once a year at www.annualcreditreports.com

Make it more difficult for thieves to take your personal property and identity. A great deal of Identity Theft prevention is Awareness it is an effective weapon against many forms identity theft. Be aware of how information is stolen and what you can do to protect yours, monitor your personal information to uncover any problems quickly, and know what to do when you suspect your identity has been stolen. Safety first, Safety Always!

Information from FBI, FTC and Clovis Police Dept

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

keno@plateautel.com

One thought on “Auto Theft, Auto Break-ins and Identity Theft

  1. Auto theft is increasing rapidly in Australia as well. A lot of people do not lock their cars or left their bags in the car which attracts these auto theft to steal things from the car. One of the things that i think every driver should have in their car is the car alarm system and immobiliser. Because car alarms helps to draw attention to surrounding people as it will sound an alarm when auto theft tried to open the car, while immobiliser helps in preventing the theft from drives the car away.

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