Keyless entry cars are more susceptible to theft compared with cars that require a fob or key to open them. With more and more people opting for keyless cars, it’s no wonder that keyless car thefts, also known as ‘relay attacks’ or ‘relay theft’, are becoming more common. This type of theft is relatively easy to carry out and can be done in less than one minute. So, what is keyless car theft and how can you prevent it?
What is Keyless Car Theft?
Relay attacks are usually carried out by two thieves on cars with keyless systems installed. It requires the use of technology and the signal of your car keys. One thief stands outside or walks around your house with one device trying to pick up the key’s signal while the other thief stands by your car with another device.
Once the key signal is picked up by the first device, it can then be transmitted to the other device. These devices trick the car into thinking that the key is near it, allowing the doors to open and the ignition to start.
Keyless Entry Protection Tips
If you currently own or are considering buying a keyless car, you should take these steps to protect your car from being stolen.
1. Purchase a Faraday Pouch
A faraday bag or pouch may also be referred to as a signal-blocking pouch. These pouches are very affordable. Once the car is locked, place the key into the pouch. The metallic lining of the pouch prevents the key’s signal from being picked up.
You’ll have to be careful to ensure the whole key is fitted into the pouch and keep an eye out for wear and tear. Any holes or worn material can reduce its effectiveness. Also, remember to use an additional bag for any spare key that might be in your house.
Some other items also work as a blocker such as an aluminium or metal tin. Whatever material you choose, be sure to check its efficacy. It’s also important that you keep the key stored in the pouch while you’re in the house or out and about.
2. Turn Off Your Key Signal
The easiest and most convenient keyless car theft prevention method is to turn off your key signal manually. Although this may mean that you’ll have to turn it on again when you wish to enter the car, it’s a foolproof way to prevent your car from being stolen.
Turning off the key signal is different for every car so you should check out your car manual to see how to do this.
3. Park Your Car in a Secure Place
It’s not always possible but if you have a garage, use it. Parking your car in a locked garage will be a deterrent to car thieves. You can also add a motion sensor around the area for added security.
Don't forget that the cost of your car insurance is also determined by where you park your car at night. There’s less risk of damage or theft if it’s parked in a secure location rather than on the curb.
4. Store Keys Away from Entry Points
Most of us automatically store our car keys near the door so this is easier said than done. You should place your keys somewhere safe in the house, away from doors and windows. It’s also not a good idea to store them near a wall as the key signal may still get picked up by thieves. Keyless entry systems have a short range, usually 5-20 metres, so storing them away from entry points can make it more difficult for a thief to pick up the signal.
5. Invest in a Steering Wheel Lock
For an extra layer of security, consider investing in a steering wheel lock. This type of lock stretches across the handles of the steering wheel, preventing the wheel from moving or rotating.
Although the thief may still be able to access and start your car, the presence of a steering lock will deter them as they won’t be able to drive the car properly.
What Happens if Your Car is Stolen?
If you know that your car has been stolen for definite, the first thing to do is call the police to report it. Provide them with all the necessary details so that they can investigate the case. Don’t forget to get the crime reference number from them as you’ll need this to make an insurance claim.
After contacting the police, reach out to your insurance company. Provide them with the reference number you got from the police along with your insurance policy number. Depending on what level of insurance cover you have, your insurer may cover the costs for a replacement. It’s important to remember that third party, fire & theft or comprehensive insurance will only cover you for stolen vehicles.