In 2020, 93% of stolen vehicles recovered by Tracker were stolen via Keyless Entry theft methods. Similarly, in 2019, 92% of all vehicles stolen and recovered by Tracker were stolen without using the owner’s keys. Proof that keyless car theft is on the rise.
Keyless entry theft is often achieved via a method called a ‘relay attack’. A relay attack is when two or more criminals work together using an electronic device that emits radio waves to intercept the signal between your vehicle and your key fob. A criminal will stand beside your vehicle with one device and another will try to detect the key fob inside your home with another device, usually by scanning each of your windows or other openings, such as your letterbox. Once a signal is found, your car can be started without your key fob and the criminals can drive it away within seconds.
Head of Police Liaison at Tracker, Clive Wain, explains “We are seeing more and more keyless car theft taking place across the country. It’s clear that people are unintentionally leaving themselves vulnerable to these kinds of attacks by putting their keys in easy reach of relay devices.”
Could the risk of Keyless Entry Theft increase your car insurance premium?
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.”
He added: “The theft risk will be one of many factors taken into account by insurers when assessing the price of your insurance policy.”
Clive Wain adds, “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 bag, which is designed to shield electronic keys from relay attacks.“
Can you prevent Keyless Entry Theft?
According to the Office for National Statistics, consistently around two-thirds of vehicle-related thefts take place during 6pm-6am and just over one-fifth take place during the morning or afternoon (6am-6pm). These are times when you would typically be at home, at work, or generally not in your vehicle, so it is imperative that you ensure your car security is up-to-date to give you the best chance of protecting your vehicle from theft.
Whilst there is no way to 100% protect your car from theft, there are steps you can take to give yourself the best chance of car security and protect yourself in the devastating event that thieves attempt to steal your vehicle.
Clive advises, “It’s worth remembering that vehicle security should be multi-layered and shouldn’t just rely on the keyless security system.
Physical barriers, such as crook locks and wheel clamps will deter thieves. And whilst investing in a tracking device won’t stop a car being stolen, it can significantly increase the chances of police locating it and returning it to the rightful owner. This, plus added vigilance, dramatically contributes to keeping thieves at bay.”
Added measures for increasing your car security include;
Faraday Bag (signal blocker)
Steering wheel locks
Locking wheel clamps
Pedal box locks that encase the clutch and brake pedals
Locking driveway posts
On-board diagnostic port (OBD) locks – aimed at preventing electronic key compromise
VIN window etching – making your vehicle much less attractive to car cloners
Keeping your car in a garage
If you use a van, here are some added recommendations for reinforcing your van security from Tracker to protect your valuables and your livelihood: https://www.tracker.co.uk/tracker-hub/news/89-vans-stolen-without-keys-2018-tracker-reveals
What if my vehicle is stolen?
Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, there is no way to guarantee that your vehicle can’t be stolen. And whilst physical and visible security measures might slow down some thieves or even deter them, if one criminal manages to get away with your vehicle, there is a good chance you will never see it again.
The cost of vehicle theft is about much more than the market value of your vehicle. Other losses include:
- Your insurance excess
- Your no-claims bonus
- The cost of car hire
- Insurance settlement delays
- Uplifts in insurance premiums
- Potential plate re-registrations
Not to mention the disruption it adds to your daily commute and life in general.
Tracker has a unique partnership with UK Police Forces, unlike other stolen vehicle recovery devices. So if the unfortunate should happen, Tracker will work with the police to recover your vehicle.
Geofencing technology will alert you if your car moves from its allocated perimeter, and if your vehicle moves without the keys present, you will get movement alerts sent straight to you through your Tracker smartphone app.
Wherever you are, rest assured, Tracker is guarding your car.