Lifehack: You might be stupid, but the thieves ain’t

Friday 6 January 2012, 9.04pm HKT


THE NEXT TIME you use electronic technology, consider the below.

* * *

GPS

A couple of weeks ago, a friend said someone she knew had their car broken into while they were at a football game. Their car had been parked on the football stadium green specially reserved for football fans. Burglarised items included a garage-door remote control, some cash and a GPS unit mounted in open view on the car dashboard.

English: GPS navigation solution running on a ...

When the victims got home, they found their house had already been cleaned out. Just about everything worth anything had been stolen. The thieves had used the stolen GPS to guide them to the house, and then the garage remote to open the garage door to gain access to the house.

The thieves knew the victims were at the football game. They knew the game’s scheduled finishing time, so they knew just how much time needed to ransack the house. It would appear the thieves had even brought a lorry to empty the house.

Moral of the story

Have a GPS, but don’t put your home address in it. Put in a nearby address (like a petrol station or, even better, police station) instead. That way, you can still find your way home if you need to, but no one else would know your actual home address if your GPS were stolen.

* * *

MOBILE PHONES

Have you ever thought of this?

English: mobile phone text message

One lady has now changed her habit of how she lists names on her mobile phone after her handbag was stolen.

Twenty minutes after discovering her handbag was stolen, the lady rang her husband about it.

“I got your text about your PIN,” the husband said, “and replied a little while ago.”

When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them that her card had been used to withdraw all of the money from their account.

The thief had used the lady’s mobile phone to text ‘Hubby’ in the contacts list to get hold of the PIN.

Moral of the story

Don’t reveal your relationships in the phone contact list. Avoid using monikers like ‘Home,’ ‘Honey,’ ‘Hubby,’ ‘Sweetheart,’ ‘Mum,’ ‘Dad,’ ‘Sister,’ etc. You know their names — use them!

As an added trip-up for the thieves, try labelling your local police station’s number as ‘Home.’

Very importantly, when you get text messages asking for sensitive information like PINs or account numbers, ring the person back — never reply in kind.

Corollary

If you get a text message from friends or family to meet them somewhere, ring back to confirm if it was actually from them. If not (or if you can’t reach them), then be very careful about going to places to meet ‘family and friends’ who text you. This is how people get kidnapped.

* * *

PLEASE PASS THIS ON

(hat tip to apunkaweb)

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. Images powered by Zemanta/WordPress.

4 Responses to “Lifehack: You might be stupid, but the thieves ain’t”

  1. Ed Hurst said

    Interesting and accurate, but non-issues for us. No GPS, and our cell service has SMS disabled. In many ways, it pays to be semi-Luddites.

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  2. Excellent advice all around. Although, I have yet to simultaneously keep important relationships unknown while also indicating to any emergency personnel which individuals they should call if I’m ever incapacitated. (I’ve settled for putting ICE at the end of full names for the time being.)

    There was a big hooplah over this sort of thing happening during baseball season in my hometown a few years ago. Needless to say, you didn’t see quite so many GPS devices left in cars. There were definitely plenty, but not as many.

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    • Yes, making that balance isn’t easy. Try duplicating one (just one) of your folk’s number and labelling it as ‘NOK’ (next of kin) for emergency services to ring. I mean, gotta take a chance sometimes. But anyone seeing your ICEs is also going to figure out they’re your folks too.

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