by Harriette Halepis
Source acquired via Newser, July 8, 2010 – Public warnings related to Craigslist are nothing new, but this time the warning is coming straight from the New York Police Department. The NYPD has been repeatedly warning the general public to be extra careful when allowing potential buyers to test drive listed cars. Savvy Craigslist listers are quickly finding out that GPS tracking devices can do more than track stolen goods – they can potentially save lives.
The NYPD has picked up on a recent scam that many within the New York City (and other) area have fallen prey to. By contacting a Craigslist poster, thieves pretend to be interested in various listed automobiles. Then, upon asking to take a car for a test drive, the cars disappear entirely. Most of these vehicles wind up in chop-shops, and some are resold after identifying vehicle information has been altered.
In addition to simply taking a car for a test drive and never returning, the NYPD is also warning Craigslist posters about a new carjacking tool dubbed “the jiggler.” This tool can be inserted into certain ignitions causing a car to start up automatically. Once a thief notes the location of a Craigslist car for sale, this tool is frequently used to steal any unattended vehicle.
While it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on any car that is listed on Craigslist, it is not a good idea to go along for a test drive. Many thieves are armed and dangerous, and car owners may become injured if a thief decides to steal a car while an owner is present.
A safer option is to install a personal GPS tracking device inside of a vehicle. In the event that a vehicle is stolen, this device will lead owners and authorities directly to the automobile. Not only is a tracking key an effective way to find a stolen car, it’s also a great way to prevent an unsuspecting owner of becoming injured.