AAA warns drivers of thieves hacking into key fobs to steal valuables, vehicles

BOSTON — The American Automobile Association is warning drivers of an uptick in thieves who have been hacking into key fobs in an effort to steal valuables, and often times vehicles.

“Thieves across the nation are taking advantage of modern technology to steal valuables from inside vehicles, and often the vehicles as well,” AAA said in a news release.

Many new cars and trucks no longer require a key to unlock the doors and start the engine, instead using an electronic fob that transmits a radio signal to gain entry. AAA says thieves are using portable amplifiers to boost the signal of fobs that are kept too close to their vehicles to gain entry and steal valuables from inside.

Because stolen vehicles cannot be restarted once out of the range of the fob, AAA noted that the majority of crimes committed by hackers involve property theft.

AAA recommends drivers take the following precautions to lessen the chance of thieves getting into their vehicles:

  • Store key fobs as far away from the vehicle as possible and keep them in a metal container or a bag used to store toll transponders to interrupt the fob signal and prevent hacking.
  • Do not leave valuables such as navigation devices, purses, shopping bags or electronics in the vehicle.
  • If possible, park in a garage or well-lit area with security cameras
  • Do not place key fobs in a freezer or microwave oven which may damage the fobs and cost hundreds of dollars to replace.

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