Keyless Car Theft – Are Your Customers Worried?

This blog has been written by Callum Watkins, Head of Marketing at 1st Choice Insurance, one of the UK’s leading independent motor trade insurance brokers!

There’s no doubt the growth of technology has transformed our lives for the better. We now have more control, better communication, improved ability to plan, and better consumer choice. However, we are not all developing as fast as technology, and most people do not understand its complexities and dangers, and this has led to a rise of a new crime. Cybercrime!

The UK has seen a huge rise of keyless car entries. According to Motoring Research, after years of a downward trend in the number of vehicle thefts, the so-called ‘relay attack’ is seen as a significant contributor to the 30 per cent rise in car thefts in England and Wales between 2013 and 2016. With car manufacturers seemingly unable to act, this has left dealerships, and the UK automotive industry at large, alone to reassure customers.

What is Relay Box Crime?

A relay attack is worryingly simple. All you need is two criminals working together using an electronic relay device to steal a vehicle, this is normally done from right outside the victim’s house! All that happens is one criminal stand by the targeted car, the other close enough to the house to pick up the key fob’s signal. The signal is then transferred from the house, through the relay box by the door, to a second relay box near to the car. This effectively fools the car into believing the key fob is next to the car, leaving them free to steal someone’s unlocked vehicle.

These devices can be bought online for as little as £25. The devices are low cost, easy to acquire, and offer those with the guts a huge opportunity to make away with £100,000’s of high-end vehicles that can be easily sold in existing circles. No wonder the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has described the latest growth of keyless car thefts and an ‘epidemic’!

What Can Motor Traders Do?

The last things the industry wants is a select few ‘opportunists’ to crush sales and make people adverse to technology. Until the larger manufacturers get to grips with the issues, we always believe motor traders who can offer customers sound advice will stand out.

Here are 7 tips you can provide to your customers today to ensure they do not fall victim to keyless car theft!

  1. Keep your car keys in a metal box where the fob’s signal cannot penetrate.
  2. Purchase a signal blocker pouch off Amazon for around £8
  3. Keep your car keys beside your bed, not near the front door
  4. Always Consider using a wheel or steering wheel lock
  5. Add a tracking device so that the Police can locate your vehicle
  6. Check to see if your key fob can be switched off, or remove the batteries
  7. Always make sure your vehicle is locked

Education Builds Reputation

We firmly believe that motor traders who can offer the correct advice will stand out and find they are better able to manage a positive reputation. We must tackle this problem head on, it’s all our responsibility to help consumers. Else we risk the reputation of environmentally friendly electric cars, convenient keyless cars or of the industry in general. A simple text or email to new customers, posters in your workshop or a guide linked to your website would be a great place to start sharing your message.