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Wednesday / 8 December 2021
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Beware – Big increase in car remote jamming

Vehicle-recovery organisation Netstar has seen a sharp rise in car remote jamming incidents as South Africa approaches the festive season.

“Netstar data shows a downward trend for car-jamming incidents over the course of the year, but there has been a steep increase over the past week in the run-up to Black Friday and the subsequent peak festive shopping season,” said Netstar.

“Car-jamming, or remote-jamming, occurs when thieves use a device to jam the signal from a car immobiliser, so that the car fails to lock. The criminals then steal the vehicle and/or any valuables inside.”

Criminals typically use a customised version of a 400MHz gate or garage remote control to carry out the car-jamming, which often happens at shopping centres, airports, entertainment areas, petrol stations, and public areas, said the organisation.

Since the middle of November, car-jamming incidents have surged by 66.6% according to Netstar data.

“Anonymised car-jamming data is obtained from the alerts generated by the vehicles of Netstar customers fitted with Netstar JammingResist technology,” said Netstar.

How to prevent car remote jamming

Netstar chief technology officer Clifford de Wit recommends that motorists take precautions to reduce their chances of falling victim to car remote jamming. These include:

  • Listen for the sound your car makes when it locks.
  • Wait and watch the car lights flash to indicate it is locked.
  • Physically check that your vehicle is locked, using the door handle.
  • If you have difficulty locking your car, move your car to a safer spot, or leave.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and notify security of suspicious individuals in the parking lot.
  • Park as close to the entrance of shopping centres as possible, where there are crowds and security cameras.

De Wit also advises South Africans to consider installing jamming-resistance devices on their vehicles that can proactively prevent crime and enhance safety.

“Tracking and jamming-prevention technology can detect and resist signals from potential jamming devices near where your vehicle is parked,” said de Wit.

“While car-jamming is relatively common, perpetrators are rarely caught,” concluded de Wit.

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