Rumours are spreading across the Internet that claim a new trending crime amongst carjackers is to insert a small coin into the handle of the passenger door when the owner is not with car, which – according to the rumour – will prevent the central locking of the car to function correctly the next time the owner uses it.
The unaware driver would then presumably park the car after using it next, walk away from it thinking they locked the door, unwittingly leaving it unlocked and at the mercy of the awaiting criminals.
The warnings seem to assert that the coin inserted into the passenger handle as illustrated above would fool the central locking system into thinking that the passenger car door is open, thus causing the central locking to fail.
Sample warning –
Attention, new thing of thieves.
While your car is locked, they slide a 5 cent coin in the door handle of the passenger.
When you leave, nothing happens but when you stop and close your car, the central locking will not function normally and the car will therefore remain open.
As soon as your departure, the thieves who have followed you will be able to penetrate in your car and steal everything that interests them.
You have to control your doors to each closure.
However, despite notices by at least one police force via their social media account, there doesn’t appear to be a great deal of validity to this warning.
For starters we tested it on a number of cars available to us that utilised central locking, and the “trick” worked on none of them. As with most car door handles, you can leverage the handle towards the open position to a certain extent without actually opening the car door. With all the cars we tested it on the central locking worked fine unless the handle was opened all the way and the door physically opened. Inserting a coin was never sufficient enough to cause the door to actually be registered as open and thus it did not have any influence on the central locking.
And it seems that many others who tested the theory on their own motor vehicles have come to the same conclusion.
It is unlikely that any modern cars would be vulnerable to such a primitive type of attack, which would rely on a car registering the car door as open before the car door actually opened, which would be a rather large oversight on behalf of the car manufacturer!
Additionally most car owners would be aware that their central locking did not work since most can hear the actual locking mechanism function as they activate it, and many cars make a confirmation noise when the locks are enabled.
Finally, if this were actually the latest criminal trend, we would expect to have some verified media coverage on such incidents, or at least a police force somewhere confirming that this type of crime is occurring in their jurisdiction (instead of blindly copying and pasting a generic warning, which some have.)
Whilst at this stage we cannot confirm that there are no cars vulnerable to this type of crime, it would certainly appear that the vast majority of cars are immune to it (by all means test it out for yourself) and since there are no reports of this crime occurring, we have to acknowledge that this has all the hallmarks of an Internet hoax.