In the past two weeks, multiple Metro Insurance customers have reported car theft – but not in the way you would imagine.
Let’s provide a scenario: after a long day on the road, your family is tired, and all you can think of is falling into the soft covers of a hotel bed. As you pull into the hotel entrance, you notice a long line of cars ahead. Miraculously, a valet decides to walk to the back of the line and asks to take your keys. Exasperated and exhausted, you quickly accept their invitation.
Turns out, that “valet” is a crafty criminal, and you have just become the victim of car theft. How did that happen? Unfortunately, the instant you remove your luggage and check into the hotel, the thief dressed in fancy clothes drives off with your vehicle, never to be seen again.
This plot does not simply occur at hotels. Numerous reports of fake valets pop up at parking garages, restaurants, and other public parking spaces. This is a national issue. In 2020, a record-high 810,400 vehicles were stolen across America, surmounting over $7.4 billion. On average, each incident cost the car owner $9,166.
Why would thieves want cars? After all, selling a stolen car is not legal or easy to accomplish. However, car parts are still extremely expensive and sought after. Common antics include stripping a vehicle down to its scraps and selling them separately to different mechanics and shops.
So, fake valets run a profitable business with low risk of being caught. How can we stop these crimes from occurring? Well, for starters, hotels should improve their personnel security. Drivers should take special notice of who they are handing their keys to. Do not be fooled by their fancy attire and polite manners – be sure to be at the front of the hotel to ensure that these valets are legitimate. Even better, if possible, is to find your own parking space, leaving nothing up to chance.