How Thieves Are Using WhatsApp To Target Your Car

Wed 27th Nov 2019

A jump in car crime is being fueled by the use of online messaging platforms with many thieves sharing ‘shopping lists’ of desirable motors which are then stolen to order.

Whilst the increase in relay attacks, where tech-savvy car criminals use software and readily available devices, is being blamed for the rise in thefts of cars with keyless entry systems. Security experts are saying that the thieves are also becoming more organised through encrypted messaging systems, with the sale of some cars agreed even before they have been stolen.

Neil Thomas, director of investigative services at AX is warning that apps like WhatsApp are facilitating the rise in car crime.

“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.

The thieves who take the initial risk get the cash payment, then the buyer, who now has a tracker-free car can then take their time to strip it, clone it or export it. This is where the profit is, especially in terms of the parts which can amount to much more than the complete vehicle.

“We’ve been highly successful in recovering vehicles for our clients. However, it is usually only possible if they can be traced and this requires specific technology as well as the instinct of experienced professionals.”

The spike in car crime has seen payouts for thefts reach a seven year high according to The Association of British Insurers.