Key fob technology opens new avenue for car thieves

Thieves caught on camera trying to steal car in southwest Miami-Dade

By Ian Margol - Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - It's a routine that most of us just don't put much thought into.

Unlocking and starting your car has become easier than ever with key fob technology, but unfortunately, it has also opened up a new avenue for car thieves.

Surveillance video captured thieves trying to take advantage of just that this week in southwest Miami-Dade.

"In many cases, people don't know what happened to their vehicle because there's no broken glass, there's no evidence of a theft. They just go out and the car is gone," Roger Morris, of the National Insurance Crime Bureau, said. 

Morris said it's hard to see in the video exactly what the criminals are doing. But he believes they were trying to do what's called a key fob relay attack.

"They were trying to steal the signal of the fob, which was probably inside the house," Morris said. 

Basically, one person stands by the car while a partner tries to pick up the signal from your key fob. Fortunately, this crew wasn't successful.

"The fact that they didn't get in indicates to me that either their device wasn't strong enough or the key fob wasn't very close -- it was inside the house a pretty good distance," Morris said.

There are some products that claim to protect consumers from these sorts of attacks, and one thing some people recommend is wrapping your key fob in tin foil or putting it in the fridge while you're at home to block the signal from being stolen.

Morris said the problem is none of these solutions are foolproof.

"If they really want to get to it and they have good enough technology, it's pretty hard to stop them," Morris said. 

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