Motorists and car dealerships are being warned of a scam in which owners bringing their vehicle for a service, hand the keys to a 'garage employee' -- only to have their vehicle stolen.
Alan Nolan, director-general of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), said the organisation would be highlighting the latest scam to its members, but warned that it was only one of a number of methods being used to get keys.
"We've actually had a few incidents of people trying to get keys out of dealerships recently," he told the Irish Independent. "Perhaps going in to test drive a car and then handing back the wrong set of keys when they get out.
"Or maybe hanging around a dealership trying to find a moment when someone wouldn't put the keys back in the locked safe."
In the latest scam, a person walks out of dealership just as a person is driving the car into the forecourt and says he will take the keys as they were waiting to service the car.
The 'employee' then goes back into the dealership for a period of time, but is seen on CCTV driving the car away once the owner has left the forecourt.
"People like this rely on owners and customers to be very relaxed about things and extra vigilance can be enough to cut down on it," Mr Nolan said.