High Tech Vehicles May Help Thieves

An excerpt from an article written by Maxine Reiman for Newsmax on “While Cars Get Smarter, Some Tech May Be Aiding Thieves, published January 5, 2018:

Auto manufacturers are increasingly using smart technology to make cars safer to drive and easier to lock and unlock, and even to drive themselves. The trend is predicted to continue with the introduction and transition to autonomous vehicles.

However, among the unintended and unwelcome consequences of some of the new technology may be a greater vulnerability to theft. According to recent reports, New Jersey car owners are experiencing an increased number of vehicle thefts, and a similar trend has been reported in other states as well, including California and Florida.

While a direct link has not been established between these increases and technology, one widespread innovation, now found in both many luxury and economy vehicles, may increase the chances of your vehicle being stolen.

Keyless or hands-free car entry allows you to unlock your vehicle without having to even press a button or use a key; the vehicle detects the presence of a key fob and automatically opens its doors or prepares to be started, with the press of a button on the dashboard.

While keyless entry is beneficial to drivers, making it easier to gain access to your car, it’s also vulnerable to interference by thieves in several ways.

The first is through the growing use of electronic box devices. Thieves use these to recreate your key fob signal and gain entry to the vehicle, allowing them to steal items inside. They can also connect the device to the car’s power source and download enough information to create a new digital key, allowing them to drive the car away. Similarly, other thieves use a wireless signal booster that tricks the car into thinking your key fob is closer than it is, which allows them to access your vehicle.

How can you help keep your vehicle from being stolen and perhaps save you money on auto insurance?

Anti-theft devices, like steering wheel locks or security systems, deter thieves from attempting to break into your car. You can also invest in an immobilizing device that shuts the vehicle off once the thief enters it. Approximately 40 percent of insurance companies offer safety discounts when you use and install security devices like these.

Other simple ways to avoid auto theft is to park your vehicle in a garage and/or park on a well-lit street.

It seems like common sense, but some drivers are too relaxed about where they store keys or key fobs, and car thieves are taking notice. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, 57,096 cars were stolen in 2015 with the keys left in the car, an increase of 31 percent over the prior three years.

Play it safe and use these common sense approaches to prevent your vehicle from being stolen.