The OnStar tracking system is designed to help recover your vehicle if it’s stolen. But what if the thieves can quickly disable it?
One local truck owner said it happened to him and now he wants GM to step up.
Jarrod Hamlin said being left with nothing helped him discover something.
“I’ve spoked with as of now 82 people who have the same story in the same week,” he said.
The story goes like this. Surveillance cameras captured video of thieves pulling up and then in just three minutes driving off with Hamlin’s 2018 Chevy Silverado TX Edition LTZ.
The truck was later found stripped of all its parts, including the vehicle recovery system OnStar.
“At the end of the day, this is me wanting to bring notice to people that the subscription to OnStar is a joke. It’s pointless to put it on your truck if it can be disabled in 60 seconds,” Hamlin said.
He believes the thieves swapped out and disabled the OnStar system in his truck after hacking the MyChevrolet mobile app and unlock the vehicle using a device which can be found online.
“It hijacks it. They pull the device up on their phone and now they can unlock your door with the MyChevy app,” he said.
FOX 4 consumer reporter Steve Noviello asked Chevy and OnStar about the potential for the app to be hacked and got no response.
In contrast, he got an overwhelming response to Hamlin’s story on Facebook. People all across North Texas shared stories that were virtually all the same. Their OnStar enabled trucks were stolen, stripped for parts and then ditched.
“These are professional thieves. These aren’t kids pulling door handles looking for an opportunity,” said Jolene DeVito with the Carrollton Police Department, which investigated Hamlin’s case.
DeVito said trucks are always a popular target and some municipalities in Texas are seeing a spike in Silverado thefts.
“This is simply about GM stepping up and saying, ‘Hey listen, there seems to be a pattern here,’” Hamlin said.
A spokesperson for OnStar said the company is “working closely with law enforcement in Texas to understand the details of theft methods being used.”
Also, OnStar is a vehicle recovery system, not an anti-theft device, the spokesperson pointed out.
In the meantime, Hamlin said he’s connected with the security team at GM which confirmed to him there is a vulnerability in their system. They are coming to Texas to personally inspect his truck.
OnStar did confirm the trip to Texas to inspect the truck but beyond that said it wouldn’t comment on or confirm any details of the investigation or customer comments.
For now, Hamlin is driving a rental truck that is nearly identical to the one that was stolen.
He said he will get another one and immediately install a fuel pump kill switch to stop the next thief.
The advice seems obvious but the folks at Carrollton PD say it’s worth repeating. Always park in a well-lit area, never leave valuables in the vehicle and consider hackability when it comes to high-tech equipment.