There have been plenty of warnings issued on social media in recent months, and many of them suggest that you could be in danger in a variety of situations, like if you see a wire on your car door handle, if you see 1F written in the snow, if you see a coat hook in a bathroom, if you see a USB charger in a hotel room, and even if you see a piece of cheese on your vehicle. Well now there is a new warning being issued and it seems like it should definitely be heeded.
It advises drivers to be careful if there is a water bottle in their car's wheel well. Apparently, bad guys are sticking the empty containers in wheel wells, typically on the passenger side, as a means to steal either the car or the driver's belongings. The ruse works because an unknowing person will drive off but immediately stop upon hearing the awful cracking sounds of the bottle getting crushed. Unsure of what the sound is and scared their car got damaged, a driver might exit the car to check out what happened, and in doing so, possibly leave the vehicle on. When the driver walks around the car and bends down by the tire, that's when the criminals act, coming out from a nearby hiding spot and stealing items from the car or just taking the car itself while the driver is distracted.
Apparently, the water bottle trick was first reported in South Africa, and since then, other instances of it may have happened as well. However, like all of these types of warnings, there is some doubt over if it actually is a thing that occurs or not, but this one seems very possible, and Snopes can't prove that it hasn't happened.
Either way, it's best to be aware that it can happen. As for if it does, should you decide to investigate the sound, your safest bet when you do is to turn off your car, hold on to your key, and lock your car doors, even if it is just to go around your vehicle.