A Rise in Auto Thefts
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, a car is stolen every 7 minutes. That’s 205 cars a day, or 74,825 a year. If these numbers seem higher than normal to you, it’s because they are! In 2017 there was a 15% increase in auto thefts across Ontario, with a new form of theft contributing to these rising statistics. If you own a vehicle with keyless ignition, one of those vehicles that can be started simply by having the keys in the car and not in the ignition, you may be at higher risk.
Auto Theft Using Wireless Key Fobs
Stealing a car in 2020 is much easier for thieves – forget the days of hot-wiring. Any car with a wireless key fob can now be tricked. These key fobs are constantly giving off wireless signals, so as long as your keys are in range anyone can hijack and imitate these signals. Thieves are accessing these signals by placing a relay box close to your home in an attempt listen to the specific key fob signal inside, and then forward that signal your car in the driveway. Once they are able to relay the signal, they simply open your car doors and drive away with your car.
This type of theft is occurring in cities across Canada. CBC recently reported on a theft happening as close to home as London Ontario. To read the article, click here.
Another way that thieves are stealing your car is by capturing the key fob signal when you lock your car from a distance at the mall. We have all done it; you leave your car, check that you have everything while you walk towards the mall door. Then realize you haven’t locked the car. A quick press of the key fob and the vehicle is locked. Unfortunately, you may have unknowingly allowed a thief to capture your unique key signal. Using the same relay boxes, thieves are able to capture your key fob signal from afar and gain access to your car while you are shopping.
How Can You Prevent This?
The solution to this is actually quite simple: at home, don’t keep your keys close to the front door. By keeping the keys away from your front door, they’re not able to get a strong enough signal to unlock the door. Additionally, it’s suggested you store your key fob in a metal container with a lid, something like a cocktail shaker works great!
At the mall, lock your car using the lock button on the outside of your vehicle rather than the key fob. This will limit the distribution of the key fob signal and eliminate the chances of thieves picking it up.