Carjacking Warning - Paper or Sticker in Rear Window - Internet/Facebook Rumour

24 Oct 2012 - Article No: 1629. Filed under: General | Internet/Facebook Rumour

Rumours are circulating that a "new" way to carjack victims involves attaching a piece of paper to the rear window of a car, with the hope of it being seen in the rear view mirror by the driver who - upon exiting the car to remove it - would leave them and their car vulnerable to a carjacking attack.

Upon exiting the car to remove it the victim would presumably leave their car with the keys in the ignition and wallet/purse on the seat and the carjacker would then jump into the car from their nearby hiding position and drive off.

Most variants claim it is either a new gang related attack, or that the police have issued a warning regarding the incident. Some examples below -

Imagine: You walk across the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. Then you lock all your doors, start the engine and shift into REVERSE. Habit! You look into the rear-view window to back out of your parking space and you notice a piece of paper, some sort of advertisement stuck to your rear window. So, you shift into PARK, unlock your doors and jump out of your vehicle 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 car-jackers jump out of nowhere . . . jump into your car and take off — your engine was running, your purse is in the car, and they practically mow you down as they speed off in your car.


Just drive away and remove the paper that is stuck to your window later ... and be thankful that you read this email and that you forwarded it to your friends.
Collected September 2009

collected October 2012

The warnings are simply baseless and demonstrate nearly every trait you would find in your classic urban legend.

Firstly, like with many other warnings directed at motorists (such as the Baby Car Seat Hoax) there is simply no evidence to suggest any spate of attacks matching the description have happened or are currently happening. Multiple other hoax-busting sites including us have been unable to find any carjacking incidents at all related to that described in the messages. A red flag to this warning is that like many other false rumours, this message fails to provide any reliable sources showing that this incident is actually happening.

On some occasions certain outbreaks of the rumour are started by linking to media articles that - on subsequent investigation - have been written in response to rumours on social media - thus creating a cycle of misinformation.

The message has circulated in many different countries and jurisdications since 2004, and has had many different police forces attributed to it as issuing the warning, yet the message has been continually debunked as a real threat and every police force that the warning has been accredited to have dismissed it as genuine.

Additionally we have not seen any mention of this method in the numerous websites that deal with providing advice to avoid carjacking attacks.

It is unlikely that this would become a popular type of car jacking attack since this scheme relies on several assumptions for it to be successful. For example the method relies on a victim approaching their car from the front. It also assumes that the victim will not see the appended paper "bait" before entering their car. The method would also involve a carjacker waiting for a victim to return to their car.

Rumours have also circulated claiming that carjackers user dollar bills instead of pieces of paper, receipts or flyers to attract the attention of potential carjacking victims, however these rumours have proved equally false and unverifiable.

Whilst it is always recommended to be vigilant when entering or exiting your car, passing around false warnings that do not appear to be occurring is simply counterproductive. If you want to help your friends and online contacts when it comes to carjacking, the best way to do this is to circulate genuine tips and advice that focus on real threats, not imaginary ones, like these tips from CrimeStoppers UK.

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