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Experts: Carjackers Are Tricking Drivers Into Hopping Out With Cars Running

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Carjacking has become disturbingly common in the Tri-State Area, with hundreds of cases terrifying drivers.

As CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported Tuesday, experts said everyone should be aware of the new modus operandi that criminals are using to get their cars.

Many people have left the car running while hopping out for a few seconds.

“I didn’t know it was something to be concerned about,” said driver David Landis.

But security experts said it is indeed something to be concerned about. Carjackers are more aggressive than ever.

As anti-theft devices become more sophisticated, thieves have been left with fewer ways to hotwire a parked car.

“Those methods are obsolete now with the new electronic systems,” said Dr. Mark Lerner, president of Epic Security Corp. “However, the demand for stolen cars has not gone down, so the thieves in the stolen car rackets need new techniques.”

Lerner, a security expert, said the new tactics include covering the backup camera with tape to block a driver’s view, or even sticking a note on the back of a car.

The theory is that the driver will notice something is wrong, and get out to check while the thief makes off with the car.

“I’ve stepped out of the car with the car running, so I think that’s a fairly common practice,” Landis said. “So I think that’s good to be aware of it.”

“You just made me aware of it, so now I’ll be conscious of it,” said driver Diane Arthur.

Even with all the warnings out there, CBS 2 found people in Manhattan who left their cars alone keys inside engines running – with no driver in sight.

One driver did not want to explain and declined to comment.

Aside from never leaving your car idling alone, Lerner advised drivers not to stop, and to check immediately if something seems amiss.

“If something is suspicious, lock your car and proceed to a safe area,” Lerner said.

And most importantly, experts say you should not fight back. You can replace your car, but not your life.

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