Car thieves are using high-tech electronic devices to break into and steal vehicles, according to a warning from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
For several years, police have reported instances of criminals using mystery devices to hack their way into cars.
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Thieves are stealing cars using this keyless device
The NICB recently bought one of the devices through a third-party security expert from an overseas company to put it to the test.
In a test of 35 different makes and models, the mystery device was able to open 19 of the vehicles and it managed to start and drive away 18 of them.
The device only works on vehicles that use a keyless remote and a push-button ignition.
The NICB believes that criminals are buying a number of similar devices, including some that may have better capabilities.
“We’ve now seen for ourselves that these devices work,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “Maybe they don’t work on all makes and models, but certainly on enough that car thieves can target and steal them with relative ease. And the scary part is that there’s no warning or explanation for the owner. Unless someone catches the crime on a security camera, there’s no way for the owner or the police to really know what happened. Many times, they think the vehicle has been towed.”
An NBC News report demonstrated how the gadget works by cloning the signal of a car’s key fob and transmitting it to a second device, which was able to open the vehicle’s door.
In a matter of seconds, you can see how the device was also able to start the car.
How to keep your car from being stolen
According to the NICB, vehicle manufacturers must come up with ways to fight back against these attacks on anti-theft technology.
In the meantime, always lock your car and take the remote fob or key with you, and keep an eye out for suspicious persons or activity when leaving your vehicle, especially in parking lots.
One final tip: Never give a thief an open invitation by leaving valuables in plain sight.