GPS tracking devices are a simple gadget. They track your vehicle’s location and for a small ongoing fee. In return you get a peace of mind knowing that it can be recovered should the worst happen. Despite their simplicity, some people still have false perceptions about GPS tracking devices. Alright, let’s dispel some more misconceptions about GPS tracking.
(Photo By Michael Gil, via WikiMedia Commons. Alteration by MG)
1. “GPS Trackers Work Everywhere in the World”
Well, yes and no. It depends on where you bought the tracker from and the SIM card it comes with. Unless the tracker you purchased comes with an internationally compatible SIM card, you won’t be able to track overseas.
The other issue you’ll run into is roaming charges. Using an overseas cellular network may cost you extra. So, depending on your tracker, you may be required to pay an additional subscription fee to connect.
2. “I Saw a GPS Tracker That Comes with Lifetime Connectivity”
Are you sure about that‽ Much like your phone a GPS tracker requires a constant connection to work the cellular network to function. To cover the ongoing service and maintenance costs, a GPS tracking company will charge you a subscription fee.
At Black Knight, we offer monthly ($29 and $35 per month) subscription plans, while other companies may, at most, offer 3 yearly / 36-month subscription plans. Selling a GPS tracker with lifetime connectivity is simply not possible given the costs involved for upkeep. (We at Black Knight need to eat as well).
3. “I Not Using My GPS Tracker Anymore. I Can Sell It to Anyone”
It is not recommended that you sell your used tracker online, since each tracker is attached to sensitive details such as your bank or credit card, e-mail address, mobile number and vehicle registration number.
Technically, you could sell it. But, it’s not as simple as selling your old used electronics. You’ll have to go through the lengthy process of transferring ownership, which involves changing the tracker’s banking details, phone number, e-mail address and password to the new owner’s. Would you be willing to do this with some stranger who bought your tracker online? Not likely…
If you wish to discontinue usage of your tracker, contact customer support and we can terminate your account and purge your tracker history. Please dispose of the tracker properly in the electrical waste as it contains a lithium-ion battery which can be hazardous if improperly disposed. Or send it back to our P.O. box and we’ll either dispose it or repurpose it.
4. “I Can Buy a Second-Hand Tracker Cheaply”
In a similar vein to the point above, you should only purchase a GPS tracker directly from the provider or from an authorised dealership. If you’re purchasing a used tracker online, you’ll have to go through the process of transferring ownership. Again, is it worth dealing with a complete stranger? Besides, if you’re buying a used tracker, it’s not covered by warranty and has sustained some wear and tear. Therefore, it won’t last nearly as long as a new one.
5. “A GPS Tracker Installed on My Vehicle, Makes it Susceptible to Hacking”
We’ve all seen the video of the two hackers using their laptops to remotely hack their Jeep on a highway (if not, see below). The difference is that they hacked their Jeep through its dashboard computer which was connected to the internet and linked to all of the car’s vital systems. The only physical connection a GPS tracking device makes with your vehicle is the wiring to the power source. There is no way a hacker can remotely control your vehicle through your tracking device. Even a GPS tracker that’s plugged directly into the OBD-II port only connects to your vehicle’s power supply. They do not integrate with the on-board computer, meaning there is no chance of a hacker shutting off your car remotely through the tracker.
You may have seen some GPS tracking devices advertised with the ability to cut your vehicle’s engine or somehow disable it remotely. This is where the misconception stems from and these are the GPS trackers you need to be cautious of. We believe these trackers have dangerous hacking implications and could potentially cause accidents.
And there you have it. Five more myths about GPS tracking busted! People often have a skewed view of GPS tracking devices and how they work. Like any product, it is important that you educate yourself on their functionality before purchase, and understand that continued use will incur a cost, albeit minor. Most importantly, they are not an exploitable opening for hackers to remotely control your vehicle. GPS tracking devices are a simple and secure anti-theft device, designed to track your vehicle and offer you a peace of mind.