I’ve seen a fair few youtube videos recently on the latest use of radio signal extender technology to steal cars (you know the ones where they hold a bag up to your house while their mates open the doors?). Watching them I was struck, not just by how easy this kind of theft was but also how easy it would be prevent. In order to understand how to prevent this kind of theft, it’s important to know what it is.
In essence, extender theft allows a thief to drive off in your car without needing your keys. Often referred to as relay theft or keyless entry theft, what they are actually doing is taking your vehicle using a signal extender, it reads your tags, boosts the signal to another thief who is stood beside the vehicle and allows him or her to open the door. They can now press the start button and off they go. Many people think that the vehicle is unable to go far without the key present but the truth is that it will go as far as the fuel and the driver allow. The vehicle will only ‘look’ for the keys once before it starts and won’t need them again until the next off / on event. What this means is that not only can your vehicle be hacked in seconds it can be gone for good. Unfortunately, although the car won’t start without the keys being present, once they have the car in a suitable location with access to your OBD port, it’s a simple matter of programming a new key and away they go.
However, keyless entry car theft doesn’t need to be a concern. You can do several things to protect yourself. Our first recommendation would be to fit a tracking system with remote immobilisation. Something like the Meta Trak VTS which has driver tags as standard and can have remote immobilisation added as an option. With a handy app and up to the minute updates, the Meta Trak VTS is also accredited to the very latest Thatcham Quality Assured standards – Category S5. Click here for more information on the Meta Trak VTS.
Then there is the Autowatch Ghost immobiliser. If you really don’t want them to drive away with your car, the Autowatch Ghost is the way to go. The vehicle can only be started using the code known only to you – it really is an amazing bit of car security. Click here for more information on the Autowatch Ghost Immobiliser.
You could also fit an OBD Portector, this will protect the OBD port from being tampered with. Literally locking it up and preventing unauthorised access. Click here for more information on the OBD Portector.
Last but by no means least, we recommend using a protective bag at all times to keep your keys in. There are several on the market but we favour the Fobstopper bag just because it is a handy size and uses the most up to date materials to protect your keys. This would literally prevent your tags from being extended. Click here for more information on the Fobstopper pouch.