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How to stop your car from being stolen

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Written by: Emma Lunn
06/10/2021
Gangs are using handheld devices disguised as a Nintendo Game Boy to bypass cars’ security systems.

The devices are one of a number of new ways thieves are finding to steal keyless or electric cars. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that 36% of all stolen vehicles in the UK are taken via keyless theft, where thieves use a relay device to unlock a car and start its engine.

West Yorkshire Police prosecuted a gang which used a £20,000 device disguised as a Game Boy that could unlock and start a car in a few seconds.

Confused says keyless thefts have gone up 50% since the end of lockdown restrictions. The price comparison site has five tips to keep your car safe.

Don’t keep your car key fob too close to your vehicle

Keyless car theft is where the signal from a key for a so-called ‘keyless entry’ car is captured by somebody standing outside the victim’s house using a relay device.

While many people will typically throw their keys on the side or hook them on the hallway wall as soon as they arrive home, this could make their vehicle more vulnerable to opportunist thieves.

Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused, said: “If you have a ‘keyless entry’ car then it’s wise to ensure your keys are kept well away from any doors and windows. Keep your car key in a screened box or tin so that the signal can’t be ‘grabbed’ from the outside and used to open your car. Don’t forget to also do this for any spare sets too.”

Switch your keyless fob’s wireless signal off

Wireless signals on some keyless fobs can be switched off when not in use to help prevent keyless thefts.

Experts recommend asking your car dealer or manufacturer if the keyless fob can be turned off overnight, or if it has an automatic ‘sleep’ function that can be activated for additional security. Alternatively, check the instructions to see if this is possible with your particular model.

Purchase a Faraday pouch

A Faraday pouch, also known as a ‘keyless pouch’, is a sensible investment for any motorists with access to a keyless car. These are made from signal-blocking fabric that helps to block out radio interference.

Kindred said: “This small accessory is definitely worth considering, especially if you hang your keys up inside your home against an exterior wall, as this is where car thieves will scan for radio signals from your key fob.”

Keep your charging cables secure

Leaving charging cables unsecured outside your house can leave electric cars vulnerable to theft. EV cables can be sold by thieves online for up to £200 each.

“During the cold winter months, many Tesla owners have noticed that the locking mechanism doesn’t work properly due to freezing,” warned Kindred, “This causes the cables to become detached from their vehicles, making them an easier target for passing thieves.”

If you lose or misplace your car keys, then it’s important to contact a local auto locksmith. Auto locksmiths are experts with vehicle locks and keys and can offer you reassurance regarding the future security of your vehicle.

The locksmith will ensure that the lost keys cannot be used by the thief by removing the specific set from your vehicle database. This will stop any stolen keys from being used.

Act immediately if keys are lost

If you lose or misplace your car keys, then it’s important to contact a local auto locksmith. Auto locksmiths are experts with vehicle locks and keys and can offer you reassurance regarding the future security of your vehicle.

The locksmith will ensure that the lost keys cannot be used by the thief by removing the specific set from your vehicle database. This will stop any stolen keys from being used.

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