LEE BOYCE: As keyless theft spirals, why don’t dealers tell you how to best protect yourself when buying a new car?
At the start of the year, I traded in our reliable 2014 Ford Fiesta for a brand new, factory-fresh small SUV more fitting for our growing family.
So far, our Skoda Karoq has been excellent and the plan is to hold onto it for a decade. There are brilliant little features, including a kick boot, which comes in handy when dealing with child, buggy, shopping and a raft of other things.
Another feature is keyless entry. As long as I have the key on me – say in my pocket – I can open the door without having to press the unlock button on the fob.
It again is another little thing that just makes the whole process of juggling family life easier.
Easy solutions: Why aren’t signal blocking pouches dished out with new car sales – and why aren’t buyers warned of the dangers? Pictured, the old school method of stealing a motor
When we picked up the car from the dealership, it did a ‘grand’ reveal. We pulled the cover off and were given a tour by the salesman, highlighting some of the nifty features and essentials.
One point he entirely missed out, however, was the rise in keyless crime.
Latest statistics from the Association of British Insurers shows that payouts for vehicle crime have soared in the last year.
Meanwhile, data from the Home Office shows a 50 per cent rise in motor thefts over the last five years. A big chunk of both of these worrying statistics will be down to relay attacks.
Put simply, it’s where criminals will trick your car into thinking they have the key by using a device to mimic the signal from your key, kept inside the home.
This is made simpler if your key is exposed and close to the driveway, say by a window or hallway.
Criminals can then get into the vehicle, start it, and drive off.
Now, I own a relatively ‘budget’ badge car – not a prestige one that is more likely to be targeted by thieves – but the risk is still there.
It would have been nice to be told – at which point I could have protected myself.
There are simple solutions to help combat the rise in keyless crime. The two easiest that spring to mind are:
When you are handed over the keys to a new motor, the salesman tells you about the benefits of keyless entry – and then gives you tips on how to prevent being a victim.
Not everyone will know about it – and the more we arm people with knowledge, the more spooked they are likely to be into taking action.
Secondly, why – when forking out thousands of pounds for a new car with the technology – wouldn’t a signal blocking pouch now just come a standard?
They are inexpensive and can even be offered as an optional extra. It strips out the element of drivers not bothering to snap one up before the worst happens. They cost as little as a fiver online. I’m sure that a cunning dealer could get their car maker’s brand stamped on them and sell them for a multiple of that.
Data shows that insurers are paying out more than £1million a day, following a worrying surge in car thefts driven by keyless car crime.
How long will it be until insurers say enough is enough – and start putting clauses in terms and conditions stating that a car owner has been negligent by not using a signal blocking pouch, or for leaving their keys on the side by the front door.
It’s time for manufacturers to help combat the problem they’ve helped create.
SAVE MONEY ON MOTORING