Cars with starting mechanisms and keyless entry are vulnerable to crime such as relay theft, which is increasing. There are several options you can explore if you have a keyless car, which will help protect you and your vehicle from relay attacks.
How does relay theft work?
Using an amplifier, tech-savvy criminals are easily able to boost the original keys signal from inside the car owners home to a transmitter, thus effectively allowing the car door to be unlocked, and the thieves to drive away. The transmitters and amplifiers can be bought from the dark web.
Is my car at risk of relay theft?
Any car is at risk of relay theft if it has keyless entry technology. It is the type of technology that if you have the key on your person, it will unlock the car as you approach. You’re not at risk if you have to manually insert a key, or press a button on the key to access the car. As it stands, out of all on the road cars, roughly 11% have keyless entry technology. As they’re likely to be the more expensive models, thieves find them especially appealing.
How can I protect my vehicle from relay theft?
To help people protect their vehicles from relay theft here’s a list of effective measures:
- Store your key inside your home and away from doors and windows. It may be convenient to have your keys by the front door, but it’s also easy for thieves to pick up the signal. The further away the keys are from your vehicle, the more difficult you make it for criminals to pick up the signal and unlock your car.
- Physical barriers. Attachment steering wheel locks, driveway parking posts/bollards or locked garages. If you need advice on optimal locks for your security device or garage, we’re able to help with that.
- Switch off your key. There are some key models that are able to let you switch off the signal when your car is not in use. The instruction manual may have this information, or possibly ask a locksmith.
- Signal blockers/metal box or container. This can prevent the relay thieves picking up the signal. For extra security you could also purchase a Faraday pouch, which is made from material specifically designed to block these types of signals. Make sure to test that the signal blocker works. Approach your car with the key inside the Faraday pouch, box or container. The car should stay locked if the blocker is working.
- Key protectors. These are ultra thin circuit boards that are wrapped around your key remotes battery, which we can apply for you. It deactivates the signal when it detects the key is idle. Simply tapping the key with your hand on your handbag or pocket will reactivate it.