Carjacking (using Sticker on Rear Car Window) Prevention and Snopes
Every now and then I receive an email that is supposed to be a warning about one thing or another – we all receive these kinds of emails. I received one just the other day. It began like this,
“WARNING FROM POLICE – NOT A JOKE
THIS PERTAINS TO EVERYONE – MEN INCLUDED.”
So it had my attention. This email went on to admonish its readers, “Warning..!!!! Warning….!!!! Just last weekend on Friday night we parked in a public parking area. As we drove away I noticed a sticker on the rear window of my car. When I took it off after I got home, it was a receipt for gas. Luckily my friend told me not to stop as it could have been placed there by someone waiting for me to get out of the car.”
The email then went on to share how the day after this occurrence, they received this same email that I referenced which also began with the same series of warnings.
It then continued with: “BEWARE OF PAPER ON THE BACK WINDOW OF YOUR VEHICLE-- NEW WAY TO DO CARJACKINGS (THIS IS NOT A JOKE)
Heads up everyone! Please, keep reading . . .
“You walk across the parking lot …notice a piece of paper stuck to the middle of the rear window. So, you shift into ‘Park’, unlock your doors, and jump out to remove that paper (or whatever it is) that is obstructing your view. When you reach the back of your car … that is when the carjackers appear out of nowhere, jump into your car and take off. They practically mow you down as they speed off in your car. And guess what, ladies? I bet your purse is still in the car.”
Okay, I can picture all of this possibly happening. And they’re right, if, and that’s a big “if”, I had gotten out of my car to check and remove the paper, I would have left my purse in my car. I would have also left my cell phone, so now I would be stranded … without my car … without my purse … and without my cell phone … pretty scary.
Even scarier is the thought that the carjacker, may not have settled for the above … they could have also decided to kidnap me … and that’s the scariest scenario of all.
The email continues, “So now the carjacker has your car, your home address, your money, and your keys. Your home and your whole identity are now compromised!”
What a hassle! Not only will you have to report your car stolen (whenever you get to a phone, because they also took your cell phone that was in the car), but also your credit cards will also have to be reported stolen.
And you will have to go through the hassle of replacing your driver’s license and all membership cards that you carry. Hopefully you don’t carry your social security card, but if you do, then you will also have to get that replaced. You’ll have to deal with getting your cell phone shut down and then getting a new one also. You’ll have to get all your locks changed on your house, etc. The hassles go on and on.
What does Snopes have to say about this?
So I decided to check this out on Snopes. When I did, I found a couple interesting things.
Snopes stated that this email had been making the rounds of email in-boxes since 2004. They further stated that they have been monitoring news reports for this type of carjacking being perpetrated or attempted, and have not found an instance.
Snopes shared that they had spoken with law enforcement agencies, and this scenario would not be typical of most carjacking instances. Most carjackings are crimes of opportunity, such as at stop signs and convenience stores where people would typically make stops and/or get out of their car. Most carjackers need quick cash, or are in it for the thrills, or are performing a rite of passage such as an initiation into a gang.
Sticking flyers or sticky notes on back windows of cars would require forethought and planning, which is not the typical behavior of carjackers.
Snopes did go on to acknowledge, however, that with improvements being seen in car alarms, locking devices, and anti-theft systems, car thieves were having to resort to alternate methods of thievery such as the one described in the email that I received.
Some Validity Given to Scenario
Snopes also reported that this email received some validity when a police officer forwarded the email he had received to his daughters. Having done this from his place of employment, it had his signature as a police officer. When his daughter forwarded it to others, who forwarded it to others, it looked official. So it began spreading as gospel.
Whether it was meant to be officially legitimized or not, if an officer thought it worthy enough to send to his daughters, it might be something that we all need to take notice of.
And when emails like this go around, I often wonder if they don’t give would be carjackers ideas …
So just to be safe, if you see a paper stuck on your back window, don’t get out of your car to take it off. Get to where you’re going and are safe, and then remove it there. Better safe than sorry.
- snopes.com: Flyers on Car Windows Carjacking
Are parking lot carjackers placing flyers on rear windows of cars?