Are Thieves Stupid?

Often our lack of judgment can give “smart” thieves an opportunity to get the better of us. Here are four cases in point with some suggestions to help us protect ourselves.

CAR REGISTRATION PAPERS

Some people left their car in the long-term parking while away, and someone broke into the car. Using the information on the car’s registration in the glove compartment, they drove the car to the people’s home and robbed the home.

Tips:

  1. When leaving your car in long-term parking, consider removing registration/insurance cards from the vehicle and keeping with you.
  2. Leave garage door openers at home if you plan to leave the car for a long amount of time in a parking lot.

GPS
Someone had their car broken into while he was at a football game. The car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard. When the victim returned home after the game, he found that his house had been ransacked and many things stolen. The thieves 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 thieves knew the owner was 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.

Tips:

  1. Don’t put your home address in your GPS. Put a nearby address (like a store or gas station) so you can still find your way home if you need to, but no one else would know where you live if your GPS were stolen.
  2. Dismount and hide your GPS before leaving your vehicle.

CELL PHONES

One woman has now changed her habit of how she lists her names on her cell phone after her handbag was stolen. Her handbag, which contained her cell phone, credit card, wallet, etc., was stolen. Twenty minutes later when she called her hubby, from a pay phone telling him what had happened, hubby says “I received your text asking about our PIN number and I replied a little while ago.” When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them money had already been withdrawn. The thief used the stolen cell phone to text ‘hubby’ in the contact list and got hold of the pin number.

Tips:

  1. Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc.
  2. When sensitive information is being asked for through texts, CONFIRM by calling back.
  3. When you’re being texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don’t reach them, be very careful about going places to meet ‘family and friends’ who text you.

WALLETS AND GROCERY CARTS

A woman out grocery shopping left her purse sitting in the children’s seat of the grocery cart while she reached for something on a shelf. In the interim, her wallet was stolen. She reported it to the store personnel. After returning home, she received a phone call from store security to say that they had her wallet and that although there was no money in it, it did still hold her personal papers. She immediately went to pick up her wallet, only to be told by security that they had not called her. By the time she returned home again, her house had been broken into and burglarized. The thieves knew that by calling and saying they were store security, they could lure her out of her house long enough for them to burglarize it.

Tips:

  1. Ladies, keep your purses zipped up and in the bottom of the grocery cart, before turning your back or leaving your cart. Better yet, keep the purse in your possession.
  2. Take the time to return calls, or at least verify phone numbers, before leaving your home vulnerable.