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  • Writer's pictureChris Anderson

Bluetooth Devices Could Make Your Car a Target for Thieves

Updated: May 6

Thieves in 2019 are using a simple Bluetooth exploit to figure out which vehicles hold devices like smartphones/laptops and they are using this technology to target vehicles parked at trailheads knowing their owners are off on a hike. The scary thing about Bluetooth scanners is they are simply apps you download legally from the app store. Choose from one of the dozen or so options, download, turn it on and it displays the signal strengths detected. Once you’ve messed around with it a while, you can gauge distance from the device using the signal strength meter. To make it super simple for the discriminating thief, some apps even display what type of device is detected and include a picture with the model description.

The part of this new epidemic that would be of most interest is the occurrence of these types of break-ins at parking areas near trailheads. One can imagine a thief lying in wait as hikers head out for the day and pulling up a Bluetooth scanner to know exactly which vehicle to break into. My mind also goes to ski resort parking lots where cars are reliably unattended and perfect targets for some scumbag with a scanner.

A rule of thumb, if you see someone walking around a parking lot, usually, they don’t do that. But if they’re walking around, they’re on a bicycle, or they’re on a scooter, that’s suspicious. Call 911 in you see this.

If you have to keep it in your car, power off the Bluetooth, airplane mode it and completely shut down the device, before hiding it in your car. Even better, don’t leave valuables inside your vehicle.

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