It’s never a good idea to leave expensive electronics like laptops, smartphones or tablets inside your car. Doing so just makes it more tempting for thieves to break in and steal your valuables.

While many think hiding devices under a seat or putting them in the trunk will keep them safe, this recent story from Wired says otherwise.

According to the article, a rise in laptop and other electronic device burglaries in San Francisco may be the result of a readily available and simple technology used to detect Bluetooth signals.

Bluetooth scanners are easily attainable devices or downloadable apps used to detect wireless signals. Many laptops and other gadgets emit a signal when their Bluetooth is turned on so other Bluetooth devices can find them and pair.

However, victims and police in the San Francisco area are wondering if burglars are using Bluetooth scanners to target cars based on the signals coming from inside.

Are Burglars Using Bluetooth Scanners to Steal Electronic Devices?

You could argue that burglars just watch victims hide valuables in their cars and then break in, but some law enforcement officials have actually confirmed the use of Bluetooth scanners.

"In our corridor, yes, we have noticed that they (Bluetooth scanners) are in use," says Monica Rueda, a crime prevention specialist at the San Jose Police Department in an interview with Wired. "Right now we do know that thieves are utilizing them."

In any case, take security measures to prevent thieves from stealing valuables out of your car.

How to Protect Electronic Devices From Bluetooth Scanning Thieves

While you should never leave valuables inside your vehicle, practice these car safety tips to prevent break-ins:

  • Lock your car doors and roll up your windows—even when your vehicle is inside your garage.
  • When in public, park in well-lit areas.
  • If you do leave electronics in your car, disable Bluetooth and turn devices off completely.
  • Keep gadgets out of sight by locking them in a glove compartment, hiding them under a seat or in a trunk if possible.
  • Additionally, consider purchasing a cargo cover if you drive a car with an open trunk, like an SUV, to prevent people from looking through your windows.

Bluetooth is everywhere. It’s in our smartphones, computers, cars, headphones, speakers and even our kitchen appliances. With so many devices, we recommend the following cyber security practices when using Bluetooth technology:

Stay On Top of Current Security Trends and Ahead of Thieves

Bluetooth scanners are proof that criminals are becoming more creative. To stay safe and a step ahead of thieves, check out our blog for the latest security trends, solutions and advice.