In this day and age, keyless cars are becoming more and more prevalent. From Toyota to Tesla, you’re bound to find one in your next search (if you don’t already have one). However, just because it’s a high-tech car doesn’t mean it’s 100 percent protected from thieves. Keyless entry works by your key fob sending a code signal to your car when you’re nearby, which makes the car unlock and also lets you start the engine at the push of a button. Your car is programmed to recognize this code signal, so it only works with your key fob.
Thieves have found that they can intercept the wireless signal and find out what the unique code is using computer software. This can impact owners if someone sits on the street and gathers several signals as drivers enter and exit their vehicles. Luckily, this is a very skilled technique, so is somewhat rare.
A more common theft tactic is to use a relay box (range extender) to open your car while your keys are farther away, such as in your house. Typically, your car will only unlock if you’re within a few feet of it, but a relay box can capture key fob signals up to 300 feet away and transmit them to your car.
There are a few things you can do to block criminals from using relay boxes to steal your vehicle:
• Put your key fob in the fridge: several layers of metal will block the signal from your key fob. Be sure to check with the manufacturer that the fridge won’t cause any damage to the fob.
• Put it in the microwave: if the fridge isn’t an option, your microwave will offer the same protection through the metal frame. However, be careful not to turn on the microwave with the fob in there!
• Wrap it in foil: you can either wrap the fob in foil or line a small box with foil and store it there while not in use.
• Get an RFID blocker: you can purchase an RFID-blocking wallet or purse to keep your keychain in. This can also protect your driver’s license and passport which have similar chip technology holding your personal information.