Car remote jamming: are you at risk?

Posted by Chelsy Pinto on 3 Sep 2018

Car remote jamming and what you can do about itCar remote jamming has been a problem for years, and not just in South Africa. But just like any other ‘trend’ it really seems to have picked up steam over the past few years. And it’s no surprise when you hear that some thieves claim to earn around R15 000 per week through this very simple method.

Car remote jamming is simple: thieves use a jamming device (in some cases a basic automatic garage door opener) to block the signal between your electronic car key and your vehicle. So, when you press the button to lock your car, the signal doesn’t go through, and your car stays open. You walk away oblivious, and thieves are left to grab any valuables in your car – or the car itself – at their leisure.

Watch this video to see just how easy it is.

Car Jamming Video

Many modern cars have keyless entry, meaning you don’t physically need to unlock or lock your car door the way you would the front door of your house. The simple press of a button does that for you, and in most cases, it simultaneously activates the vehicle’s alarm. It’s convenient and safe - no fumbling for keys in times of stress!

How to avoid car jamming

  • It’s really simple: pay attention and make sure your car is locked before you walk away.
  • Don’t just listen for the click or beep: take a few extra seconds to check the door handle and make sure it’s locked.
  • And a bit of old-school advice that many still find difficult to do: don’t leave valuables in your car. It might require some planning / spring cleaning, but this is still excellent advice for any motorist in SA.

What to do if you get jammed

If your car refuses to lock, the odds are good that someone is jamming the signal. The obvious choice is to not walk away from your car, but keep the following in mind:

  1. If you’re in a very insecure area and feel threatened, get in your car and drive away.
  2. If you’re in a public area, try to alert other drivers or security staff. The more attention you get on the situation, the better.
  3. If you feel it’s safe enough, keep trying to lock your car. Car jammers have to be relatively close by to work, so chances are the would-be thieves will realise that you’re not about to be caught out and will stop jamming the signal in the hopes that you’ll lock your car and leave so they can prey on the next person. If you do get your car to lock, it’s still good to alert security or anyone affiliated with that specific public area.

Keyless is still safer

Although remote jamming has become a very popular practice, having a remote car key is still safer than a manual key. Remember that remote jammers are trying to commit a completely silent and invisible crime – they’re not looking for a confrontation, they just want your stuff. So if you can thwart them by being vigilant, they will likely leave you alone.

It sounds like a very negative way of thinking, but if everyone went back to manual car keys, these thieves would be ‘forced’ into action and will either turn to breaking car windows, attacking drivers before they can lock their cars, or physically try to get their keys from them.

It’s a sad fact that SA’s crime statistics are not coming down and the responsibility lies with the public to remain vigilant. So just like we all got used to not leaving handbags on the seat, we need to get used to double-checking that our cars are locked. It only takes a few seconds and can save you a lot of money and admin.

Keep safe on the South African roads. Download our Safety Guide for expert tips and advice to help you and your loved ones have many safe and happy miles in your car. 

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Topics: Using a car


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