February 17, 2020
A recent story in the Washington Post reports thieves are using peer-to-peer car-rental apps to identify opportune targets for theft.
One such app, Getaround, is known as Airbnb for cars. Getaround and other peer-to-peer car-rental apps have become increasingly popular and “authorities are increasingly concerned that criminals are using the apps to find their next ride,” the Post reports “Just like would-be renters, thieves are scrolling through the online platforms to find nearby vehicles that they know will have the keys inside.”
Other peer-to-peer car-sharing apps include Turo and Avail. The apps allow cars owners to share their cars when they aren’t using them to earn extra money. Interested users search the app for vehicles available for rent in their own neighborhoods, cities they are visiting and at airports. The appeal includes greater rental flexibility, lower rates and it eliminates the need to wait in a line at a rental company.
While the car-sharing companies say thefts and other problems are rare, authorities are concerned incidents of theft are increasing. In Washington, DC, a string of thefts in the last several weeks has led to a warning from the attorney general about the risk of using the car-sharing apps.
“Thieves are able to get around certain security features and have been stealing these cars,” said Ben Wiseman, director of consumer protection for the Office of the Attorney General for the District, in the Post report. “We are warning consumers, particularly those renting their cars out, that this is happening and that they should be careful using Getaround and any other car-sharing service.”