While car technology is constantly evolving, thieves are also targeting cars. Criminals have developed sophisticated methods to bypass vehicle anti-theft devices. However, you can reduce your chance of being victim by taking steps. There’s been an increase in thefts of premium cars in the UK. It’s important to be one step ahead. Car security and ways to prevent car theft are of utmost importance.
One of the most common questions when buying a car is “is it stolen” or “is it nicked”. It’s not something you want to do. You should check if it’s on the most stolen vehicles list in the UK. Most vehicles were hacked using the keyless entry system of drivers’ key fobs. How can you prevent keyless theft from happening to your car? What other steps should you take in order to protect your vehicle from keyless theft?
Don’t rely only on your key fob
It is important to lock your car every time you leave it. However, double-check that the car is locked. Some vehicles will emit an audible signal or visual signal while others will have ‘pins’ that are located on the inside of their windows. These pins will reduce the height of the doors when they are locked.
You shouldn’t rely solely on your key fob. Some thieves use “jammers” to intercept the signal between your fob and the car. This makes the vehicle vulnerable to theft and leaves it unlocked. These signal jammers could be hidden in the car of a criminal or in the bushes by a parking lot. Be vigilant.
Although it might seem tedious to check each door, even the boot, it is the only way to be certain that the car is locked.
Keyless entry theft is on the rise
The number of cars that have been stolen from their owners without the keys has risen to 93%. This is a 26% rise in five years. This could be due to thieves hacking into cars with keyless entry systems. This makes it easy to jump in your car and get it started without needing to take your keys.
The fob transmits a signal permanently to the car. Criminals can hack the signal and open the car using a relay device. Even if the fob is in the house.
What is a “relay attack”
Tracker, a vehicle tracking company, has released the latest figures showing that 96% motorists are at high risk of their car being stolen by a relay attack. This method involves two criminals using electronic signal relay devices to work together. It is becoming more popular with car thieves.
One criminal uses a device that receives the key signal from the inside of the house to transfer it to a second box which is placed beside the car. This trick tricks the car into thinking the key is present, which allows the thieves to unlock it and drive off.
The signal can pass through windows and doors but cannot penetrate metal.
How to keep your car secure?
Use the right technology
Modern cars come with immobilizers and alarms, but thieves are able to exploit the technology. Old-fashioned security devices are still effective in deterring criminals. Steering wheel, pedal, and gear stick locks can be inexpensive and easy to install.
Do not rule out the possibility of installing tracking devices or CCTV systems near your vehicle. These can help you track down the thieves and your vehicle should they be stolen.
Park in a safe place
You don’t have to park in the first spot you see. Instead, look for a space that is well-lit and accessible to all. You should find a parking space that is security monitored, has CCTV and approved by Park Mark for safer parking. You should park near other shoppers if you are shopping in the town centre or at the car park.
Thieves are less likely to target your vehicle when they suspect they might be disturbed.
Items and belongings must be kept out of sight
You can avoid car vandalism by taking your belongings along when you park. Your coat, bags or change could make it tempting for someone to steal your car and cause damage to your window.
It’s a good idea to remove or open a cargo shelf or load cover from your boot. This will let would-be car thieves know that you don’t have anything to steal.
Protect your keys
Car thieves have made it a priority to steal car keys as cars are more secure. You should never leave your keys unattended when you are out and about. It has been reported that criminals can use wire to steal keys from letterboxes. Avoid keeping them in your porch or hallway.
Never leave the keys unattended in your bedroom or upstairs. It is better to let a thief get the vehicle than to put yourself or your family at risk.
Leave your personal documents at home
Your logbook and service records should not be left in your car. Although it may seem like a good place, if you are a victim to car theft, the documents could make it easier to sell your car and you could be the victim of identity fraud.
Also, do not leave any letters, bank statements, or other forms of identification in your car. This puts you at risk for identity theft.
What if my car is stolen?
First, call 999 if your car is taken and it becomes worse. Call 101 to ask for assistance at your local police station. These are the details you will need:
- The registration number of the vehicle
- The make and model
- The color of the car
- Anything you can provide about the time and place it was stolen.
A crime reference number should be provided to you. This number will be required to speak with your car insurance company. If the car is recovered, the police will inform the DVLA.
Call your insurance company after you have spoken with the police. The insurance company will give you all the information you need to file a claim. It will need as much information as possible about the theft. You should also have your policy number and documents.
You must inform the DVLA if your car isn’t located and you file a car Insurance claim. Technically, the car has been sold. You may also need to return your log book to the insurance company.