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Key Fob hacks leading to spate of luxury car thefts: Halton Police

Key Fob hacks leading to spate of luxury car thefts: Halton Police

The Halton Regional Police Service has seen an increase in relay and reprograming thefts of high-end vehicles with keyless entry and push-start technology. Since January 2021, there have been a total of 124 vehicles stolen in Oakville. Of those 124 thefts, 66 have been attributed to the use of relay or reprogramming technology.  In most cases, the vehicles are being stolen from residents’ driveways during the overnight hours, with a theft typically taking less than one minute.

What is a relay theft?

Thieves will use technology called a “relay device” to find a key fob signal from inside a residence.  The thieves do not need to enter the residence in order to find the signal. The signal is then amplified which allows the thieves to unlock, start and steal the vehicle. The vehicle owner discovers their vehicle has been stolen, even though they are in possession of their key fob.

What is a reprogramming theft?

Thieves will first gain entry to the vehicle by mechanical means (breaking in by using a tool).  They will then access the vehicle’s diagnostic port and reprogram a blank key fob which allows them to start and steal the vehicle.

What can residents do to protect themselves from these types of thefts?

There are some measures that residents can take to mitigate the risk of having their vehicle(s) stolen:

Park your vehicle in a locked and secured garage

Install an on-board diagnostic blocker

Install a steering wheel lock device

Combine the above measures with an aftermarket GPS tracking device

Place vehicle key fob inside a radio frequency shielding bag when not in use

Lock your vehicle at all times

Equip your vehicle with an alarm

Install home security cameras that capture the exterior of your residence, including the driveway

Additional tips and information, including an educational video, can be found on our website: https://www.haltonpolice.ca/en/staying-safe/vehicle-theft-prevention-tips.aspx

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