According to The Association of British Insurers (ABI), £376 million was paid out in 2018 because of stolen vehicles, which represented a substantial increase of 27% when compared to 2017.
Although there is no data illustrating how many of these thefts were directly related to keyless relay attacks, ABI believe the rise was partly driven by the vulnerability of these systems.
As a result, we wanted to take the time to highlight some of the steps you can take to ensure your car is fully protected from potential theft attempts. There's even a few tips on preventing it from happening in the first place.
What is keyless car theft?
In order for your keyless fob to open your vehicle, the car and fob both share a unique signal that recognise each other. The problem with this is that the signal can be captured by someone standing just a few meters away, who can then transmit the signal to someone else standing next to the car. As a result, this allows them to gain access to your car without the alarm sounding.
How to stop keyless car theft
Use a blocking pouch
If the thieves can't get access to the signal in the first place, then they have tripped at the first hurdle, which is what a blocking pouch does (also known as a faraday bag). These pouches are lined with metallic materials that prevent the signal from getting out; simple, cheap, and effective. For example, Kia offer there own faraday bag for under £15 (pictured)
However, it's also worth noting that some key fobs allow you to turn the signal off completely. Have a look at your vehicle's handbook to see if/how this can be done!
Invest in a steering lock
This may feel like de ja vu for some of you reading this because steering locks haven't been a common sight since the 90s. However, with keyless car thefts on the increase, a quality steering lock is guaranteed to act as a healthy deterrent against thieves eyeing up your pride and joy; they are also notoriously difficult to get off!
Re-think where you keep your keys at night
The main problem with keyless car theft is that your vehicle's fob can have its signal stolen from just a few meters away, which means a thief only has to stand outside your front window or door if you leave your keys on the side overnight. Therefore, we recommend moving your keys away from external windows and doors at night.
Fit a tracking device
This may sound counter-intuitive considering this article is about preventing the theft, but it's also worth knowing how you can maximise your chances of getting the car back should it get stolen. Fitting your vehicle with a tracking device from a reputable company is guaranteed to enhance the chances of your vehicle being recovered. According to Fleet News, a company called Tracker claim to have a 95% recovery rate on stolen vehicles that are fitted with their Thatcham-approved technology.
Although there is no definitive way of stopping a thief from taking your pride and joy, there are deterrents available that will minimise the chances of your car being taken in the first place. With a small investment and some common sense, you can rest easy knowing thieves will turn their attention elsewhere.