We’re always doing it. Misplacing our car keys. In our coat, on the kitchen table, stuck in the sofa. At least we know they’re safe in the house – somewhere. No longer. With keyless cars – a convenience which is becoming ever more common on modern day cars – your key fob is no longer secure from thieves, even with the strongest door and window locks available. Because these days, thieves don’t need to get their hands on your key, they only need to access the codes within the key fob. And this they can do remotely, through doors, windows and even walls.
It’s called relay theft and its rise has been phenomenal. The crooks lurk around outside your house, trying to get a hit on the signal from your key. A recent study by Tracker suggested that the vast majority of motorists with keyless vehicles are at risk of this crime, in part because of where they leave their car keys overnight – sticking them in the hallway for example or on a key hook downstairs, areas which are relatively accessible for thieves roaming outside the property with an amplifier.
If it sounds the stuff of science fiction, combatting it can actually be quite simple.
The key – pardon the pun – is to protect your key fob by storing it in a metal object. A faraday bag is an enclosure of material that blocks electric fields from passing through it. They are becoming more commonly available, typically in the form of a pouch into which you put your keys at night.
The good news is that you don’t have to go out and purchase a special bag. You can use a metal tin or coffee can, for example. Storing your key in the microwave should also work – just don’t forget to remove it before heating that midnight snack. Something as simple as a crisp bag could do the trick, but better to develop a routine around something more permanent!
Testing your homemade faraday bag is easy enough. Put your smartphone inside the bag or container, and then use another phone to try calling it. If your phone rings, it doesn’t work.
The keyless car can be a blessing for busy, laden-down motorists forever fumbling for their keys. Unfortunately, it can be convenient for thieves too. So make sure you are protected.