How to outsmart car thieves

Recent figures published by the government shows that car theft is on the rise again in England and Wales, increasing by 15% since 2016/17, and 40% over the last five years.

As the finger is pointed at keyless entry systems, TRACKER is warning motorists to increase their level of car security as 80% of all vehicles stolen and recovered by TRACKER in 2017 were stolen without using the owner’s keys.

‘We are seeing more and more keyless car theft taking place across the country,’ explained Clive Wain, head of police liaison at TRACKER. ‘It’s fair to say that criminals continue to stay one step ahead of manufacturers and ‘relay attack’ is one method car thieves have increasingly adopted. This involves two criminals working together using an electronic signal relay to intercept a key fob signal usually from within the victim’s home. Cars are being stolen and driven off within seconds. It’s clear that people are unintentionally leaving themselves vulnerable to these kinds of attack, by putting their keys in easy reach of relay devices.’

A spokesman from the Association of British Insurers said that criminals are exploiting the vulnerabilities of the entry system by using pairs of radio transmitters to capture the signal from the vehicle’s fob, among other methods.

Clive added, ‘The good news is there are simple precautions people can take. Whilst the relay devices can receive signals through walls, doors and windows, metal is its enemy, so putting keys in a metal tin or the microwave is a cost-effective way to thwart the criminals. Alternatively, invest in a metallised signal blocking pouch, such as a Faraday wallet, which is designed to shield electronic keys from relay attacks.’

Added security measures include: steering wheel locks, locking wheel clamps, pedal box locks that encase the clutch and brake pedals and locking driveway posts.