We have seen an increase in vehicle thefts using car key cloning technology,
Criminals have combined the likes of Gumtree, ebay and Autotrader to choose and pick their target, effectively using these selling sites as their personal catalogue for their next victim and the next car they will steal.
If you have an electronic car key, criminals have access to devices that can clone your car key signals:
The signal that allows your car to simply unlock when your key is close to the car.
The signal that unlocks your car with a physical press on your remote key fob.
The signal that actually starts your car when it is inside.
It effectively clones your car key electronics so your car thinks they have your car key. but in order for them to clone your key, they have to be close to it.
They may look for a car they wish to steal using one of the popular selling sites and then contact the owner to come and have a look at the car.
This is where you need to be vigilant and aware of them potentially getting close to your key and cloning it.
They may only need to be a few meters away but tell tale signs could be:
Them fumbling around with their hands in their pockets, (the device could be as small as a tennis ball)
Not really paying attention to the car,
Not asking the normal questions you would when potentially looking to buy the car
They may also ask for the car to be started. If you can, keep your key in an RFID protective pouch like the Tornado RFID key blocker, even when prospective buyers come round to view your car. This way it shields your car key so that it cant be cloned.
You can show them round your car without unlocking it or even unlock it prior to them coming or unlock it with an app (if your car has this function).
If your car has other protective measures such as Pin to drive like the Tesla (where you activate this function and then enter a personal pin for the car to be started even when you have your key) then you should activate this.
If they are criminals and have successfully cloned your car key, they will then return at some point, maybe even the same night to simply walk up, unlock your car with their cloned key and then drive it away.
If you have keyless entry on your car, disable this.
If you have a thatcham tracker fitted to your vehicle, keep it installed until after you have sold your car or even keep it fitted and sell it with the car.
We also install Thatcham approved trackers at your location. Should you be the unfortunate victim of a car theft and have a tracker fitted, then there is a good chance that your car can be recovered very quickly.
Please be extra vigilant, we are trying to help spread awareness on this growing
crime, please share this with your family and friends.