According to The Association of British Insurers (ABI), £376m was paid out by its members last year following 56,000 vehicles being stolen.
A new high-tech ‘hack’ to steal ‘keyless’ vehicles without even touching the cars is fuelling the significant rise in car thefts. Criminals are using this new technology to break into vehicles by tricking the car into thinking the key is present.
For many drivers, it wouldn’t even cross their mind that if they lock their vehicle and park it in their driveway, that it will be stolen without being broken into. But the reality is that as technology develops, the range of technology-driven ‘hacks’ grows alongside it, with thieves becoming ever more ‘tech-savvy’.
Not to worry, there are steps you can take to ensure you protect your keyless car keys from criminals and ensure your vehicle stays safe. Within this article, we explain how keyless theft works and what you can do to prevent it from happening to you.
How do keyless thefts work?
Criminals are using electronic signal relay devices to steal ‘keyless’ cars. Often targeting cars parked outside their homes, two criminals typically work together using amplifiers and stand next to the car and house. If the car’s fob is close enough, the amplifier will pick up the signal from the key fob and transmit it to the second amplifier box, positioned next to the car. If successful, the amplifier becomes the ‘key’ and ‘tricks’ the car into believing the key is at hand. When the doors of a ‘keyless’ car are unlocked, criminals are free to start the car and drive away.
How do I stop my keyless car from getting stolen?
Listed below are our top steps you can take to prevent your keyless car from getting stolen:
Keep your keys safe by using an RFID blocking pouch
Using an RFID car signal blocker pouch is one of the easiest, but most effective ways to keep your car keys safe from thieves. An RFID car key signal blocker pouch is simple to use, compact and practical – helping to prevent criminals from accessing your vehicle by shielding against Radio Frequency signal when your car key or fob is enclosed within the pouch. Whether you are at home or out and about, it’s important to keep your keys in a shielded pouch to block thieves from relaying a signal from your fob. These pouches are inexpensive but highly effective.
Make sure your car is properly locked
It may seem like an obvious answer, but leaving your car unlocked could leave your vehicle at a higher risk of being stolen. Following basic steps like making sure all the doors on your car are properly locked will help to reduce the chances of thieves breaking into your car.
Store your keys in a secure location
It’s important to store your keys in a secure location when not in use to further prevent car theft. Leaving your keys next to doors or windows will only make you more susceptible to keyless car theft. When at home, try to place your keys in a secure location/room that is the furthest away from your car. When not in use, it’s recommended that you keep your keys or fob in an RFID blocking pouch at all times.
Use a steering wheel lock
Using a traditional locking system like a steering wheel lock will prevent criminals from stealing your vehicle once they have opened it via relay signals. A steering wheel lock is a visible device which immobilises the steering wheel of a car, used to deter thieves. As suggested in the name, a steering wheel lock is placed on your steering wheel and locked into place via a key to stop the wheel from being turned.
Install a home security camera
When it comes to protection for your vehicle, installing an outdoor home security camera is another effective method in preventing keyless theft. Not everyone is able to securely park their car in a locked garage but instead tends to park their vehicle in their driveway or in the street. An outdoor security camera will act as a visible deterrent for criminals and provide valuable footage to law enforcement provided that something did happen to your vehicle.
If possible, switch off your key
Do you have a keyless fob? It’s advisable to check whether it’s possible to turn your key’s signal off. Not all keys offer this function, however, it’s worth checking the manual or with your car manufacturer if this is possible. Turning the key off will make it physically impossible for criminals to amplify the signal.
Install a tracking device
According to Auto Express, cars which have been fitted with a tracker have a 96% recovery rate after being stolen. Installing a GPS tracking device to your car will provide it with an immense boost in security. If your car was to be stolen, the chances of locating it will increase significantly. Just make sure your tracking device is fitted properly, so criminals can’t disable it. Before installing the tracker, decide where is best to position it. Whether that be inside the boot, glove box, or even attached under seats, it’s important to choose somewhere that is hidden from thieves but easy for you to access.
Park your car in your garage or place a car cover over your car
If you have a garage, it’s highly-adviseable to park your car inside it. Parking your car inside your garage and locking the garage door, will make it much harder for criminals to access your vehicle.
If you aren’t able to park your car in a secure garage, place a car cover over your car to make it harder for thieves to get into. Making it more difficult for criminals to steal your car will hopefully discourage them or increase your chances of catching them in the act.