Date Published: 2023/09/06

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Keyless auto thefts are on the rise

Close-up of a finger hovering over the keyless start button on a car dashboard.

Keyless entry and start options are quickly becoming commonplace. These automotive technologies provide a quick and responsive way to start your vehicle with one central device. The downside? They have also made it easier for thieves to access and start your vehicle. With the rising incidents of theft across Canada, have you ever wondered if you could be vulnerable to keyless auto theft?

In the past, older vehicles with less sophisticated technology and parts with high demand were easy targets for thieves. With the introduction of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) key fobs and manufacturer phone apps, the days of hotwiring may soon be gone. Thieves are now taking advantage of technology to access vehicles and disengage alarms without laying a finger on them.

Push to Start? Push to Steal.

Using RFID technology at a close proximity, key FOB signals are susceptible to being duplicated at a close distance, and with the use of an amplifying device, it can be retrieved from the inside of your home. Thieves can amplify the signal from the outside of your property in order to gain access to your vehicle and hit the road – in comparison, stealing a car is likely easier to do than it has been in the past.

Many new vehicles feature manufacturer apps to allow owners access to their vehicle from a distance. Whether it is locking the doors, turning the vehicle on, or trying to find it in a busy parking garage, hackers are figuring out how to manipulate apps for their own purposes.

Sometimes thieves are simply looking for valuable items in your vehicle and finding them has become very easy. Bluetooth scanners are downloaded onto smartphones to detect electronics left in unattended cars. These scanning apps tell the user what kind of device is emitting the Bluetooth signal and its exact location. This same technology is what is used for finding lost devices and is quite common. To avoid detection, make sure your item is powered down and the Bluetooth is turned off.

What can you do to protect yourself from keyless auto theft?

  1. Place your key FOB in a protected RFID pouch or closed metal container.
  2. Use anti-theft devices such as car alarms, steering column locks, or have an electronic immobilizer installed in your vehicle.
  3. Consider installing a GPS tracking unit.
  4. Park your vehicle in your garage.
  5. Lock your car manually by using the lock button instead of using the fob. This eliminates the opportunity for your signal being duplicated.

What to do if your vehicle is stolen

  1. Call the police to report the crime. 
  2. Call your insurer to report a claim of your stolen vehicle. If you have Loss of Use coverage, it will provide you with a replacement vehicle or reimburse you for your transportation costs, while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced.

Commonly stolen vehicles can sometimes be more expensive to insure. Before you decide what vehicle to buy, call your broker and get a quote. Finding out how much your insurance will cost could determine which vehicle you choose. For a new quote or review of your existing policy, Orbit Insurance Services can help! Speak to one of our licensed brokers today by calling 877-976-7248.