Thieves Exploit Keyless Fobs to Easily Steal Cars

By Mark Iafrate - August 6, 2016

Keyless fobs are a brilliant idea. You can start your car and drive away without ever having to dig through your purse or pockets to find your keys – and we wonder why obesity is a problem! As soon as you’re sitting in your car, it’s ready to start up and go. However, this creates an obvious security risk that hasn’t been exploited until now.

That’s right, they’ve finally done it. When keyless fobs first came out, many people were wondering how long it would take for some lowlife to develop his own device that could start any car. Well, thankfully, that lowlife hasn’t figured it out yet, but he might have found the next best thing.

Signal Amplification, Not DuplicationThieves Use Electronic Devices To Steal Cars

Instead, thieves are buying devices that amplify fob signals from online websites based in China and other Asian countries. Essentially, some dude with nothing better to do waits outside your house all day for you to come home. Once you do, he activates his little device that picks up the constant signal being sent out from your fob inside your house.

Instead of having a 5 foot range, your fob will now start your car from within your own home! All the thief has to do is open your door, work his way through your fast food bags, and drive away. Once the thief has your car in his shop, he can create his own set of keys, sell your car, chop it up for parts, or give it to his mom for mother’s day.

These evil devices are being sold for as little as $20 online and are being delivered throughout the world. Anyone from a hardened criminal to a punk teenager can steal a fleet of cars with little to no work. Worse yet, all they have to do is carry around a little device! What happened to the good old days when I – ermm – thieves had to smash windows with a crowbar to steal a car?!

How Can You Protect Yourself?Even if you Lock your Car Thieves can Steal it

The problem with this type of crime is that victims never know. They just assume that they left their car unlocked and swear to never do it again! Then they go and buy another car with a fob – whoops. This creates the possibility that they’ll be victimized again. Thankfully, there are some pretty simple ways to protect your car.

Restrict Your Fob’s Signal

Put your fob in an empty, metal, paint can. No seriously do it. Just make sure it’s actually empty. Your fob’s signal is unable to penetrate the metal can, rendering the thieves’ devices useless. You can also put your keys in the microwave or freezer, which have the same effect, but might make people think you’re crazy. Just put some tin foil on your head, that way it’ll all make sense.

Disable your Fob

You mean I actually have to turn a key? Yes, yes you do. You can disable the fob on many cars, which is a small price to pay for not having your car stolen. If you can’t figure out how to disable it, call one of your children. Or your dealer should be more than happy to help you out. Dealers don’t want their cars having a reputation for being easy to steal.

Use a Fob Protection DevicePolice Try To Stop Thieves From Exploiting Key Fobs

That’s right, this has become such a problem in highly populated areas like Los Angeles and Houston, that companies have actually started selling little pouches for your key fob. Plus, who doesn’t love accessorizing. These pouches work in the exact same way as the metal paint can, but look a little less crazy at the office. Pick one up online for around $30 and sleep soundly at night knowing your car is safe, well, at least from electronic criminals. People can still smash your windows, steal your tires, pick the lock, or hotwire it. But, that probably won’t happen, don’t worry.

It’s a shame really. All we want to do is utilize new automotive technology and not have to find our keys! They’re on us somewhere we promise! But, no. Some thug had to come along and exploit this technology for his own gain.

Well, now you know about the problem, so there’s really no excuse to get your car stolen. Go buy yourself a fob sack (as the kids call them these days – we think) or get a paint can. Better yet, you can even throw the full can of pain on your car! That way, no criminal in their right mind would want to steal it.

 

About the Author - Mark Iafrate

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