Ford and Fiat vehicles have been targeted in a spate of thefts, where burglars use cloned keyless fobs to break into cars and vans.
Popular car models such as the Ford Fiesta and Focus are among the most stolen in the UK, and according to Facebook page Stolen Vehicles East Yorkshire, there has been a “startling increase” in the numbers of these cars being stolen.
The page said: “It appears these thieves are cloning car keys by plugging a device into your ODB ports.”
Other reports have suggested that thieves are using sophisticated new tactics to gain entry to vehicles. Using keyless relay devices such as skeleton or “Tibbie” keys, they are said to be cloning wireless key signals, allowing them to open the cars on the driveway.
In Staffordshire, Fiat 500 models and Ford Transit vans are being targeted with an increase in thefts in recent months.
DC Daniel Trupp, part of the Priorities Team within CID at Staffordshire Police, said: “We would like to reiterate the need for keyless entry car owners to ensure their vehicles are locked at all times when not in use and to consider using Faraday bags to hold their keys to prevent cloning, and maybe use steering locks on their vehicles.
“And of course, please report all suspicious activity you notice in your communities and places of work.”
Faraday bags, also known as RFID, are copper-lined pouches that protect against radio frequency interference and can help prevent some of the most common types of keyless car thefts.
Police also issued the following advice for owners of keyless cars:
– Check that your car doors have locked after pressing your key fob
– Park somewhere secure, such as a garage, or anywhere where it’ll be difficult for thieves to get your car out
– Use a steering lock or other additional protection
Humberside Police also issued advice to the general public on preventing car thefts:
– Remember to lock your car doors and windows every time that you leave your car
– Never leave keys in the ignition – for example, when you go to pay for petrol, or when you’re de-icing your vehicle on a cold day
– Never leave your car registration documents in your vehicle – make sure they’re safe at home
– Park in well-lit areas
– Don’t leave anything on show in your car – even things like coats or CDs can be tempting for thieves – make sure your stuff is safely locked in your boot. Sat navs and other electronics can be particularly tempting
– Invest in, or upgrade your alarm
Police also issued some tips for parking:
– Where possible, park in a locked and alarmed garage. If this isn’t possible, park as close to your home as possible, whether that’s on the driveway or street outside
– Park in well-lit areas, ideally where other vehicles are present
– Never leave your car keys in an obvious place when you get home, such as hanging them near the door or on the hall table
– Park your car out in the open, avoid spaces behind hedges or walls. Areas with CCTV such as car parks are much safer than side streets
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