Thieves Using Technology in 2021

Jun 1, 2021 | From The CEO, Personal Insurance

It is an undeniable fact that as the years go by, our technological innovations and advancements are way better than they were before making aspects of our lives easier such as in travels and communication. To quote Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility”, with technology we seem like we do have certain powers that help us with our day-to-day lives but this also comes with the risks that thieves now have an advanced way of obtaining and using our personal, sensitive information against us. 

It is not enough that we have smart gadgets to use in our day-to-day lives. In order to utilize these smart gadgets, we also need to know how these gadgets and the technology behind them can be used against us.

Three Commonly Used Technologies

GPS

One of the many things that we found helpful and useful today is the use of GPS. GPS stands for Global Positioning System and serves as the 20th century’s digital map; most of our devices now such as smartphones have GPS wherein you can just input the name of the place and technology takes over where they will be the one to coordinate its placement on your digital map. From there, you can use it to navigate through a certain city or district. 

It’s only as good as it gets! Aside from that, GPS can also be integrated into certain mobile applications wherein it can help you or give you tips and shortcuts in case there are accidents or traffic jams on the way to your destination. 

There are also applications wherein you can save your favorite places so you don’t have to put in the address every time you go there, especially if it’s your home or a place you frequently go to. This is where the downside of having a GPS comes into place – if it falls into the hands of thieves or robbers, it would be easy for them to go through the places you have been to and even locate your home!

Cellphones

Aside from the fact that the most used device with GPS now is the smartphone, there are still other things that a phone can be used against you. Sometimes it just stems down to phone etiquette for you to be able to make your information safe and secure.

Long Term Parking

Long-term parking is helpful especially for those who are always on the go and would have to leave their car if they are out of the city for a long period of time. This is helpful because it promises safety for the car itself while you are away for vacation or a business trip and you would need to go to an airport. Of course, no one could drive your car back to your house if you need to ride the plane so having your car parked in long-term parking or also known as satellite parking would be a great help.

This would still not guarantee any damage protection from your car. Insurance may help minimize the damage after it is done, but the best is to prevent any major damage.

How to Prevent Home and Auto Theft with Technology

Keep your exact home address private.

Let’s say someone is in a football game and while watching a football game, they parked their car somewhere near the football stadium. They were confident to leave it there since that place was specially allotted for football fans. They were enjoying the football game not knowing that their car was thrashed and things were stolen from their car including their garage door remote controller, some money, and a GPS

The scary thing about this is that the GPS tracked every step and place they have been to – including their home. So, the GPS basically guided these thieves where the victims’ house was and stole everything from their house. It was the almost perfect crime, the thieves knew that the homeowners weren’t home since they “met” them at the football stadium so they knew that the house was empty. There is a schedule for the football game so the thieves also calculated the time they had in order to steal from the house until such time that the owners realized that their car was trashed.

So, to prevent this from happening the number one tip here’s to NEVER put your home address on your GPS device. An option would be to put or save in the device a place nearby your house so that if ever you need a guide on your way home, you can still find your way but no one would figure out where exactly your house is when your GPS gets stolen.

Stick to a first-name basis

It would be best if you can refrain from using endearments as contact names on your phone. This is to protect yourself and the people in your contact list from identity theft or to keep anyone from using their relationship with you to take advantage of either of you. Try not to disclose or make it obvious through your contact names and the relationship you have with them. Avoid using labels or names such as Home, Honey, Hubby, Dad, Mom, Sweetheart, Darling, and other call signs or terms of endearment. 

Imagine this, you are out in public and you left your phone on the table where you sat on. Someone, with ill intention, picked it up and went through your contact list. The first thing they will probably look for is someone close to you that would send you money without hesitation, once they find their victim, all it will take is one simple text message and they could easily manipulate your loved ones into thinking that the one texting them is you. 

That’s just one of the worst things that could happen. We are so dependent on handheld technology that we keep even the most sensitive information on our phones, but kind of neglect or overlook the fact that the phone can be physically stolen from us and not just the digital information we have in there. So, that is one tip that you can use to protect your information and yourself.

Practice calling back for confirmation

The next thing is always to be alert and cautious when exchanging personal information via the smartphone. Make it a habit to confirm that the one you are talking to is really someone you know by calling them back. In this way, both of you can remove the hassle of typing in sensitive information and keeping any visual record of the said information on your smartphone.

There are many scenarios wherein people can do you harm via texting. Let’s say that you were texted by someone who is close to you, or maybe a family member, to come and meet them up somewhere – it would be handy to call them back and confirm the time and place, and at the same time confirm who is the person behind the text that you are about to meet up with.

In any circumstance that you are not able to reach them through call, be very careful about going to places that you are going to meet them and if possible find a way to get through them by asking your other friends or loved ones if they are with the said person. In this way, you can protect yourself and the people you love.

Keep your family and friends up-to-date

Aside from getting information from your family and friends, do not forget that your cell phone may have your bank details or PINs on your credit or debit cards. So in case your phone got lost or stolen, immediately let your family and friends know that if ever they got a message from your phone, report it to the police or just ignore it since it would not be you who is trying to contact them. 

Don’t leave keys and garage openers in visible areas of your car

Think of it this way: a couple parked in long-term parking on their way to the airport with their car registration in the glove compartment together with the garage opener. What would happen if thieves broke into their car while they were away?

A car registration contains sensitive information such as your home address and birthdate. The thieves take a hold of your car registration and glove compartment, go to the home address on your car registration, then use the garage opener to get into your house and steal everything in sight, and leaves. 

What could you or the couple have done to avoid this kind of situation? Make sure to hide or lock the garage openers. It is like a giveaway to the thieves if you leave the garage openers hanging in plain sight. As mentioned in the first tip, garage openers have GPS and can be used to track down your place and steal everything without you knowing. This is a dead giveaway of easy access to your home and belongings.

Hide your confidential documents

The next thing that you would have to be wary of is the documents that you leave behind your car. If possible bring them with you, and if not lock up any personal document such as your insurance information or car registration, as these may have your home address information as well the same as the couple in our example. The thing is if you are going somewhere and will be away for a long time, always make sure to leave no trace or room for thieves to get in any information about/from you.

These are three of the many simple countermeasures we could observe to protect our information, ourselves, and our loved ones from thieves. Theft can happen anytime and anywhere, and the best way to deal with this is to prevent it from happening by staying one step ahead.

Thieves are indeed getting smarter. The technology does not discriminate against thieves from civilians, as long as the thieves have access to the same technology that we have, they pretty much know their way around navigating and operating the same devices that we have such as smartphones, GPS devices, and many more.

As our technology continues to advance, we continue to be reliant and dependent on it, but just because it makes our lives easier does not mean that we should be lenient and lax about our security. We should also use this technology to strengthen the security of our homes, cars, family, and personal belongings. 

We can help you with that

Need protection or more information about your insurance policy? We’re here to help you understand how to protect you, your family, and your valuables. Contact us today!