Do you know how to protect yourself from a carjacking?

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Thieves are getting more and more creative in how they go about jacking you for your car.

Jhinna Salinas got out of her truck at a dumpster, left it running, and a thief jumped in.

"He was closing the door and I was hanging on to the side mirror trying to get him to stop and he drags me down the street," she told Eyewitness News in January.

It was a terrifying situation, she never saw coming. It's one of the bold tactics police say carjackers commonly use.

"We've seen where people have been carjacked at filling stations where they left their doors open while they're pumping gas and their keys are still in it," says HPD Officer Barry Curtis. "They've been taken at stop signs and red lights where people are stuck in traffic."

In this kind of ambush, you're just getting in or out of your car, or maybe just sitting there distracted by your phone when the carjacker strikes.

"You don't want to be preoccupied, texting, looking around, not being aware of your surroundings. This puts you in a very vulnerable state," Officer Curtis says.

A second scary tactic is the bump and rob. The person will pull over thinking they were in an accident and then they'll jump in the person's car and take it from that point.

It can happen in broad daylight, even crowded areas. The key is to not stop or get out of your car if you feel unsafe. If you've been bumped, jot down the person's license plate number, or exchange information through the closed window.

And then there's the flag-down tactic. It happened on Interstate 59 in Montgomery County last month. A stranger signaled a driver man that his gas cap was off. So he pulled over and got out to check.

"As soon as I do that, and bend down, I turn back around and saw two guys coming at me with guns ... the door was already open right here," the unidentified man told Eyewitness News.

"If somebody has a weapon, don't hesitate to hand over your keys. Your car is not worth your life," adds Officer Curtis.

This may seem obvious, but Officer Curtis says if someone suspicious waves you down, don't stop; find a safe, well-lit area to check your car.

Obviously these are just a few of the most common tactics, so always be on guard.
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