Thieves Breaking Into Cars Using Key Fob Technology

Your newer model car with its wireless key allows you to open the door and start the engine without ever taking the key out of your pocket.

Now, some tech-savvy car thieves may be taking advantage of the technology for their own criminal gain.

Cars with wireless key fob technology constantly search for a signal to the key fob, but it will typically only work within a few inches or feet of the car.

A USA Today story points to growing instances of break ins where thieves use an amplifier to boost the car’s signal and project it more than 300 feet away.

This means if the key fob is on a kitchen counter and the car is in a driveway, it’s well within the range of a criminal using the device.

“I think it’s crazy,” said Joel Hinson, owner of Cutting Edge Audio a business specializing in car alarms.

Hinson says the key fob technology is generally secure and reliable. “But if they have something defeating it, there really is no answer for that yet,” he said.

The article tells concerned car owners to store their key fobs in the microwave or freezer because they block the amplifier.

“It’s a very rare example. It’s not going to be a big issue,” said Hinson.

Auto theft investigators with the San Diego Police Department and San Diego Sheriff’s Department are generally aware of the scenario but say it isn’t a problem in our county yet.

“To our knowledge, the San Diego Regional Auto Theft Task Force has not seen a vehicle stolen in San Diego county using this specific device or process,” said Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Seiver.

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