Car thefts in the UK are surging, with theft claims jumping 20% in each of the last four years.
While the pandemic has decreased overall crime in the UK – due to lockdowns and restrictions – there has been a reported increase in UK car thefts.
And one of the reasons given is rather surprisingly the rise in keyless car technology.
Keyless car technology allows car owners to open their vehicles by either pressing a button on their key ring or by walking close to their car and a keyless fob identity chip sending a radio signal and unlocking the vehicle.
While convenient, tech-savvy criminals are increasingly targeting vehicles that use the technology.
According to police, thieves are using signal relay devices “by redirecting the wireless signal from the owner’s key fobs inside the house.”
And this, the police say, allows thieves to move the car in seconds.
The surge in UK thefts is predominately amongst luxury car makers like Mercedes, Lexus, Audi, Porsche, Tesla, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover.
Those brands have seen a spike in claims in recent years, with keyless theft accounting for nearly 50% of claims.
Lisa Gribben, Claims Manager at CRASH Services, says that while technology advances, so too do the methods of criminals.
“Car technology is improving every year, but some of the technology designed to protect our vehicles is being exploited to steal them.”
Lisa says Northern Ireland drivers should be wary and not rely wholly on technology to protect their cars.
“There’s a lot of precautions a local driver can take, such as using a steering wheel lock, fitting an alarm in your car and parking your vehicle in a locked garage or driveway.
Invest in a fitted GPS tracking device and remember to store your key fob well away from the vehicle when you’re not driving it; away from the front door and any windows.”
She continues, “You should also invest in a Faraday pouch – an inexpensive keyless car key signal blocker pouch.
The pouch has shielded material which stops thieves amplifying your fob signal and opening your vehicle car.
Essentially, it stops your keyless entry fobs from being remotely accessed.
All of these will act as deterrents and make your car less appealing to would-be thieves,” Lisa adds.
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