Keyless Car Thefts

Unfortunately for as long as there have been cars, there have also been people trying to steal them. As car security has improved, so has the criminals technical ability. So how do criminals steal a keyless car?

The most common method is via Signal relaying: Relay thieves use wireless transmitters held up to the front door, window or even the handbag or pocket of a car owner, to capture the signal from a genuine digital key and transmit it to the target vehicle. An accomplice standing by the vehicle captures the signal, and the car – thinking the real key is in range – unlocks. The process is then repeated to start the engine.

Our colleagues at Trading Standards have made us aware of a possible connection between some leaflet deliveries through your front door and these type of car thefts. Reports have come through of leaflet delivery persons spending a long time at some front doors pushing the leaflets through the letter box. In some cases the homeowners keyless car was It is believed the leaflet delivery person is checking out the locations for suitable cars to steal and then spending time at the front door checking to see whether they can pick up a signal from the key-fob. If they do, then the thieves will return to the address overnight and try to steal the vehicle. The purpose of pretending to deliver leaflets, is so they have a legitimate reason for being at someone’s front door if stopped by police or challenged by the homeowner.

OBVIOUSLY not all people delivering leaflets are up to no good, it is believed only a couple of individuals are using this method for scouting cars to steal.

How can I protect my car from theft?

To stop thieves using this relay method, the best way is to block the key-fobs signal. This can be done by simply placing the key-fob within a Faraday protective box or pouch designed to contain the signal, these can be bought from popular online stores or in local shops and cost from as little as £5. By keeping the key-fob inside these Faraday cases when the car is not in use, it stops the criminals accessing the electronic signal they require to commit the theft. Other methods would involve the use of physical devices to prevent your car being driven, such as steering locks.

How to report possible offences, concerns or to give information?
If you notice a person delivering leaflets acting suspiciously, where possible please try and obtain a photo of the suspect and if applicable their car index number— however DO NOT expose If you are a victim of, or have any information about keyless car thefts, please report this via one of the below methods.

Essex Police via 999 for offences being committed at that time or via 101 or online at

CrimeStoppers in order to give information anonymously — 0800 555 111.