Car thefts have always been an epidemic issue despite car manufacturers amping up their safety features. Statistics in the UK have shown that over 112,00 cars were stolen between 2017-2018, which is up by 50%. It turns out that UK thieves have been exploiting WhatsApp in order to complete their dirty deeds.
According to the UK’s vehicle protection specialists, AX, criminals and crime syndicates are sharing their ‘shopping lists’ or orders via the social media platforms through several WhatsApp groups. Makes and models are shared so that thieves can organise their efforts and steal according to the custom orders placed by the crime syndicates.
Neil Thomas, AX’s Director of Investigative Services, stated “The highly organised criminal networks are constantly looking for more secure ways to carry on their ‘businesses’ online and use social media with encrypted messaging capabilities or even online games to covertly communicate with each other. The sheer volume of thefts is practically a car theft epidemic and is enabling criminals to purchase costly technology which then fuels even more car crime.”
Their modus operandi involves finding ‘targets’ to steal after receiving the orders via the social media platform, preparing fake number plates from similar vehicles for extra-fast ‘cloning’ procedures and using high-tech equipment to bypass any keyless or safety features.
To avoid car thefts, it is always recommended that you park your vehicles near well-lit areas, preferably in places where there’s a lot of traffic or near security personnel. It has also been recommended to use to good old steering or pedal locks in hopes that it can deter or at least slow down the theft process long enough for someone to notice or stop the entire attempt altogether.