Cape Town - Earlier in February, Wheels24 reported that SA motoring journalist, Juliet McGuire, editor of motoring site, Women on Wheels, became the latest victim of local remote-jamming, an ordeal captured on
Criminals in South Africa are using radio transmitters to interrupt the signal emitted from a car-key and the vehicle's transponder.
One way of safeguarding your vehicle against remote-jamming devices is to physically check that your vehicle is locked. How many of us actually check our car door?
We asked Wheels24 users whether they "double-check their car doors" when parking and a homepage poll garnered 28 034 votes.
Yes - 19932 votes
No - 1907 votes
Sometimes - 4444 votes
Doesn’t apply to me - 1751 votes
Wheels24 users share their car-jamming experiences:
Fazila Joosab: My son was a victim of remote-jamming in Durban. They took his laptop which was in the bag along with lots of documents. His credit cards were in the bag as well. They withdrew R4000 and used R6000 at a bar with a card that required a pin...
Kevin Issacs: As early as 2014, I was almost a victim of car-jamming in the same Greenpoint Spa parking lot. However I noticed immediately that my doors did not lock and then re-armed the vehicle immediately.
I quickly looked around the parking lot to see if anything or anybody seemed suspicious. Nothing.
I went to the manager of Spa and told him that I am sure jamming is taking place in their parking lot. I have a theory though of how jamming is done in this parking lot - the jammer is sitting in one of the higher floors in the adjacent flats. His accomplice is seated at one of the wooden tables outside Spa. I'm convinced this is how it's done.
Roelof van Wyk: We were in Durban for the 2013 Comrades marathon. On our way back on June 3, about 12h00, we stopped at Shell Ultra City in Estcourt. When we got back at the car all appeared normal until we left. We enjoyed a cold drink outside the car.
I saw my car seat pushed forward. I drive a two-door Kia Cerato Koup. It was strange as passengers always use the passenger side to enter to the back.
Away from the garage, my friend found his camera to be missing from underneath his jacket on the back seat, I could not believe this as I knew I locked the car. Further on I wanted to use the cruise control but it did not engage. I pushed various buttons but no luck. It got me thinking that something is not right. Then it got through to me that my camera bag, that was in the boot, was gone. I did not even realise it when I took out some biscuits from the boot.
We stopped immediately to check but the camera bag was gone. We rushed back to the garage and looked around. We could see nobody with my bag, a purpose-built camera bag. I even went to the garage on the other side of the road to look around. Nothing. Losing the camera was one thing, losing the photos of runners and the dolphins playing in the sea...still crying about it.
Somebody must have jammed the signal when I locked the car with the key remote. The boot can only be opened from within the car. My cell phone, our sunglasses, hats and cash were not taken from within the car. Nothing else was taken from the boot as well. There was no visible forced entry.
For those that think that it is a hoax, and that jamming does not happen, think again. It does. Since then I make sure that the car is locked and so does most of my friends. Some will learn the hard way.
Ashley Dewar: This has happened to me TWICE!
Groenkloof petrol station (Engen) in 2012 - stole laptop bag and iPad etc. By 8pm that evening had cranked R3000 worth of sms on the data sim. Nothing visible on cameras.
Mtunzi – also Engen garage. Nothing visible on cameras – could not help but have the feeling that the camera are not correctly positioned.
My sons backpack taken - iPad/spectacles/'beats speakers/very sentimental things from his late father etc. It's just such an awful experience. Please expose more and more and encourage the owners of petrol stations to be more supportive!
B Sheik: I am the security manager at a shopping centre and need the public to know what I know. I have followed up and realised that these guys jamming vehicles even hire vehicles to go out and commit these crimes! I had an altercation with two men. One of the suspects is a passenger in a Polo Vivo with a GP registration. As from time to time they would pass through the centre and they know that we know who they are and would then leave.
In particular the Polo Vivo after the altercation and pics taken, a week later one of my staff had informed me that the vehicle was on site and parked. Upon monitoring the vehicle, I saw a couple approaching the vehicle thought not same males from the previous encounter. I approached one and explained to him that under no circumstances am I accusing him but this vehicle is known to us. He was quite understanding and showed me the paperwork of where the vehicle was hired from! I have taken pics of these documents.
This then led me to understand why they keep changing the vehicles all the time. They always use vehicles that are light on fuel like a Toyota Etios or VW Polo because they would drive these vehicles from mall-to-mall targeting unsuspecting clients.
I do think that the drivers licences and other documents are not scrutinised when the vehicle is hired. In my field of work, I have seen how drivers licence pictures and IDs photos are removed and replaced in order to commit FRAUD. I also think that vehicle-hiring companies should check licences thoroughly.
It also has come to my attention that tourist are followed from airports! Also holiday makers are more of a target as the criminal know that these tourists would do a lot of shopping at branded stores hence the criminal making a "score" when jamming a tourist-driven vehicle.
Lastly, criminals are wise because if I was on holiday, I would keep my laptop and tablet with me and not at the holiday house that I reside at as I feel it's safer to have my belongings with me. Criminals are aware of this, hence they target tourists or someone who has been shopping.
'Fighting a losing battle'
What is the jamming device, how do they jam your remote? Sadly the remote is a standard garage door or gate remote (the blue remote) - press any one of the buttons and hold it in. Then attempt to lock your vehicle and activate your vehicle alarm - it won't activate, as simple as that!
We have caught several parties. When we catch the suspect(s) and get hold of the owner of the vehicle, since items are recovered victims do not want to lay any charges. So how do we beat them? It's a losing battle for us daily.
How do I know all this? I take my work seriously and have a dedicated team that know what to look out for trying to stop these guys in their tracks.
Hope the above information assists. Purely sharing this as it's crazy how easy it is to become a victim and sadly the insurance companies just don't care!