Thieves are using high-tech equipment to steal cars and valuables left in them, but there’s plenty you can do to deter them...
One of the latest ways thieves can steal a car without taking the keys is relay theft.
This usually involves two people working together using relay transmitters that can be bought online for around £100. These boxes capture the signals emitted by certain key fobs.
One person waves a relay box around outside the car owner’s front door to grab the signal from a key that could have been left on a hallway table. This is passed on to the second person who’s standing next to the car with another relay box, which receives the signal and uses it to unlock the car. The thieves can then simply drive the car away.
Other thieves use even cheaper gadgets to steal cars. With an interceptor costing just £30, a thief can stand near your car while you lock it and record the code sent out by the key. The equipment then cleverly calculates the unlocking code for your car and allows them to gain access to it and drive off.
1. Check for recalls
The first thing to do is to make sure you’re aware of any recalls that are outstanding for your car. Manufacturers take car security seriously and aim to make sure that all the software in your car is as safe as possible. Software updates are common and can be performed by your local dealership or, in some cases, wirelessly over the internet.
2. Keep your keys safe at home
When it comes to deterring the most sophisticated thieves, the police warn against leaving car keys in hallways or near to your front door, where their access signals could be captured; you could even put them in a metal box or safe overnight.
3. Lock the doors manually
You can stop thieves from cloning your key’s wireless signal by locking your car doors manually with the key.
4. Reset passwords
Many new cars can connect to the internet or be controlled by a smartphone app. If your car has this functionality, make sure you change the default password and never keep the car’s wireless access codes in the car.
5. Get a tracker
If you own a valuable car, you might want to invest in a car tracker that will alert you if someone tries to move it. The tracker’s combination of GPS and radio signals let you know your car’s exact location at all times, so you’ll know if it’s being driven by someone else, and if it’s stolen the police can recover it from thieves.
6. Fit a steering lock
A steering wheel lock is an old-fashioned solution, and although it won’t provide 100% protection, it will put off opportunist thieves and slow down anyone attempting to steal your car.
7. Be careful with keys
Never leave your car unlocked with the keys in the ignition, and never leave it with the engine running. It sounds obvious, but it can be tempting to leave the keys in your car while you pay for petrol or to leave it unlocked with the engine running on your drive while its windows are demisting.
8. Park in a secure place
Keeping your car in a locked garage not only means that it’s out of sight, but also adds an extra layer of complexity that thieves need to overcome before being able to drive off.
9. Hide valuables
Don’t leave anything of value in your car. Keep your car tidy and make sure you take valuables and items with personal information with you when you leave the car to make your car as unappealing as possible to opportunistic thieves.
10. Go high-tech
With the number of cars being stolen using relay theft on the rise, savvy drivers can use technology to hide their keys out of the reach of thieves. Special pouches, called Faraday bags, can block the signal from your keys, meaning thieves can't use it against you.
Article by What Car