What is Keyless Car Theft?


Stealing vehicles without even needing to see the owner’s keys. The thieves use a relay box to receive a signal from the car key inside the house. Keyless fobs, which should not be confused with standard remote fobs, allow drivers to easily open and start their vehicle without pressing the fob or even having to remove it from their pocket.


This week West Midlands Police released what is believed to be the first footage of a ‘relay crime’ in the West Midlands in which criminals exploited the vulnerabilities of keyless entry system using pairs of radio transmitters by capturing the signal from the car’s fob. See video link below.



As Keyless Car Theft Rises Thatcham Research offers guidance to concerned drivers


Richard Billyeald, Chief Technical Officer at Thatcham Research comments, “Keyless entry systems on cars offer convenience to drivers, but can in some situations be exploited by criminals. Concerned drivers should contact their dealer for information and guidance, and follow our simple security steps.”

“We are working closely with the Police and vehicle manufacturers to address this vulnerability, continuing our approach that has driven vehicle crime down 80% from its peak in 1992.”

Thatcham Research security tips for drivers with keyless entry systems:

1.     Contact your dealer and talk about the digital features in your car. Have there been any software updates you can take advantage of?

2.     Check if your keyless entry fob can be turned off. If it can, and your dealer can also confirm this, then do so overnight.

3.     Store your keys away from household entry points. Keeping your keyless entry fob out of sight is not enough – thieves only need to gain proximity to the key to amplify its signal.

4.     Be vigilant. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity in your neighbourhood – and report anything unusual to the Police.

5.     Review your car security. Consider aftermarket security devices such as Thatcham-approved mechanical locks and trackers, which are proven to deter thieves.


Kits-n-Bits is an approved Thatcham installer. Call us for advice about your vehicle’s security or go to our Alarms & Immobilisers page for further information.