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Prevent keyless entry theft with a few simple measures

Drivers concerned over the growing trend of ‘relay’ car theft are being advised that there are a number of actions they can take to help keep their vehicle secure.

Thatcham Research offers guidance to concerned drivers on keyless entry vulnerability

Thatcham Research offers guidance to concerned drivers on keyless entry vulnerability

Recent months have seen a spate of vehicle thefts exploiting keyless entry systems – with news coverage this week including on the BBC showing CCTV footage capturing the theft of a car in such a manner. However, the exact number of vehicles stolen in such a way are not available, due to the way vehicle thefts are recorded.

The trend sees criminals use radio transmitters to intercept signals from keyless or ‘smart’ fobs and steal cars without actual physical access to the keys. The technology only works with keyless fobs – which allow drivers to open and start their vehicle without pressing the fob – and is not applicable to standard remote fobs.

In response, Thatcham Research has published five security tips for drivers with keyless entry systems.

  1. Contact your dealer and talk about the digital features in your car. Have there been any software updates you can take advantage of?
  2. Check if your keyless entry fob can be turned off. If it can, and your dealer can also confirm this, then do so overnight.
  3. Store your keys away from household entry points. Keeping your keyless entry fob out of sight is not enough – thieves only need to gain proximity to the key to amplify its signal.
  4. Be vigilant. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity in your neighbourhood – and report anything unusual to the Police.
  5. Review your car security. Consider aftermarket security devices such as Thatcham-approved mechanical locks and trackers, which are proven to deter thieves. A list can be found on the Thatcham Research website, here.
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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.