Find out how thieves are using legal gadgets to steal keyless cars and what you can do to stop them taking yours.
In an age of cyber-attacks and security hacks, what do you do if your car was the target of digital fraudsters?
Unfortunately, if you own a keyless car, it could very well be a reality for you.
Research from security device manufacturer Tracker shows that 92% of the stolen vehicles they recovered in 2019 were taken without using the owner’s keys, so it seems that thieves are turning to technology instead.
Relay crime is the new tactic used by criminals to steal keyless cars quickly and quietly.
Relay crime is a way thieves can access your car. Instead of stealing your key first, they simply use a device to corrupt the signal your key sends to your vehicle.
These devices can be legally bought and could unlock your car within seconds. So how do they work?
Crooks can use relay boxes or scanners to disrupt the signal from your keys, without entering your home or damaging your car
One thief stands by your car with a scanner and pulls on the door handle to emit a signal. This signal is picked up by the scanner and relayed to a second device, which tricks the key into unlocking your car.
The diversion of the signal makes your key think it’s near your car, so it unlocks, letting the criminals hop in and drive away without so much as a smashed window.
Between April 2019 and March 2020, there were over 105,000 vehicle thefts reported to the police.
Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to avoid relay crime happening to you, so you can sleep peacefully:
Keyless cars are changing the way car thieves operate.Ryan Fulthorpe, car insurance expert at GoCompare
Protect your car by parking in a secure place, using a protective signal-blocking key case and fitting alarms and steering locks.
Make sure you’ve got the right level of insurance cover and perhaps a vehicle tracker, just in case your car does get stolen.
Report the crime immediately to the police and to your insurer.
Your stolen vehicle may be used to commit crimes, such as speeding or running red lights, so you need to inform the police straight away, to avoid prosecution.
Whether you get your vehicle back or not, you need to update DVLA on the situation as soon as you can and keep a record of all correspondence related to the theft.