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Broadacres scammers: Readers respond

2014-05-29 07:13

AT YOUR OWN RISK: Broadacres centre management says there is a similar 'park at your own risk' sign at the centre and owners are responsible to ensure their cars are locked. Image: Shutterstock

A Wheels24 reader wrote to us warning shoppers at the Broadacres centre in Fourways, northern Johannesburg, about a possible car remote-jamming scam.

The reader’s car was allegedly scammed electronically to block its remote locking and items were stolen from it.

Our reader, who did not want to be named but is known to Wheels24, said: “I spoke to management at the new Woolworth's store at the centre and discovered that remote-jamming was a frequent occurrence there.

"On further investigation, it turned out there were hardly any security measures in place.”


Since then, other readers have shared their experiences at Broadacres.

Another reader (whose name is also known but does not want to be exposed) told us: “My husband was accosted by two men at the Standard Bank ATM, near Virgin Active, a few months ago. Luckily they left him alone but he was later told that this was a very common occurrence. He was also told that the CCTV cameras don’t work and haven’t for a long time."

Mike Lamusse wrote: “I was the victim of jamming at Broadacres back in 2012. Two laptops were stolen from my car. The guards said they never saw a thing. I am convinced that the car guards were in cahoots and I told them so.

“It is unacceptable that the centre’s management does not address the security issue and the cameras."


Wheels24 contacted Chris Fick, centre management at Broadacres shopping centre who told us during a telephonic interview that there were in fact NO security cameras at the centre.

However, Fick said the centre has three types of security guards: "Car guards, our own security and also guards from another security company."

Fick told Wheels24 that due to the unwanted attention the original story gathered, Broadacres shopping centre would install three anti-jamming devices to attempt to fight the criminal behaviour. This is exactly what we hoped our articles would achieved, thanks to our readers and the centre management.

Fick said they are hand-held devices which alerts security to any interference to remote controls and also provides a proximity range as to where the signal originates from. Fix said the devices have been handed out to security guards.

Wheel24 spoke to Duncan Alfreds, from News24's technology department, to tell us more about anti-jamming devices:

“While radio jamming is a method that criminals might use to steal a car, finding a reliable way to block jamming is difficult because one would need sophisticated technology to determine which radio waves are ‘genuine’. Also, if more than one detector is used, the devices would need to be calibrated to triangulate the location of a signal.

“We haven't yet seen an effective counter-interference device that could be carried by a single person, and a simpler solution might include the installation of cameras with automatic motion detection recording to improve security.”

Read more on:    fourways  |  johannesburg  |  scam  |  your-wheels  |  ugc

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