POLICE in the Scottish Borders are warning the public of the threat from relay theft, also referred to as keyless car theft, which is becoming a growing problem.

Criminals can exploit a vulnerability in keyless car entry and start systems using a digital theft technique called the relay attack.

Due to the simplicity and ease of doing this more and more criminals are starting to use it. 

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Consumer watchdog Which? Conducted a study where they found that 4 out of the 5 most popular vehicles on the UK road were susceptible to this new auto theft technique.

These include the ford Fiesta, Volkswagon Golf and Nissan Qashqai.

The problem was not limited only to these cars with brands in the premium market experiencing the same problem on more occasions. 

Light commercial vehicles are also becoming targets with many suggesting that the tools they hold maintain a certain value.

If you are worried that your car could be subject to this theft technique, the first question to ask is, “do I have a keyless entry system?”

Keyless entry fobs should not be confused with standard remote fobs. If you have to push a button on the fob to gain entry, it’s not a keyless system and your car is not vulnerable to relay theft.

If you do have a car with a keyless entry system you should follow these guidance to make things as tough as possible for thieves:

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Ask your dealer: if you’re not sure, get clarity on whether you have a keyless entry system or not. Many carmakers have now introduced motion-sensor enabled fobs, which go to sleep when idle and can’t fall victim to the Relay Attack. If a fob of this type is not available, find out if your current fob can be switched off overnight

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Don’t make it easy: store all keys – spares included – away from household entry points. Also, be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour in your neighbourhood to the Police

Make sure shielding devices work: Faraday pouches and containers can block the signal from a keyless entry fob – but it is important that you test they are effective first. This is very easy to do – simply pop your fob into the pouch, walk up to your car and see if the door will open