Warning over keyless car thefts
Relay devices are being used to amplify signals from key fobs inside houses
Cars that use keyless entry are being targeted by thieves who are using technology to trick the vehicle into thinking they have the key fob.
Thames Valley Police have received reports of thefts of vehicles and have issued a warning for owners to take precautions.
Cars with keyless entry unlock automatically when the key comes within a short distance of the car. This can be from inside a pocket or bag and there is no need to push a button to get the car to open.
Thieves wander close to a house where the car’s keys are stored and attempt to pick up the key signal. They then use a relay device to fool the car into thinking the key is close by. This unlocks the car and starts the ignition.
Thieves only need to be within a few metres of a car key to capture the signal, even if it’s inside your home. Police warn this means that even if your car and home are secure, thieves could still unlock, start and steal your vehicle.
A number of steps are suggested to protect against the theft of a keyless car, including fitting a steering wheel stop lock, blocking in the keyless car with another non-keyless vehicle and keeping the key in a screened or signal-blocking pouch or metal tin.
Anyone buying a second-hand car with keyless entry is advised to re-programme their keys.
Other tips for all drivers include keeping keys out of view at home, and away from the front door, as thieves have been known to “fish” for these, using a stick through the letterbox.
Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam