How Much Do You Really Know About Relay theft?

How Much Do You Really Know About Relay theft?

Relay theft is the reason for widespread worry among drivers all over the world. Despite the progress manufacturers make, the security systems of some cars fail to guarantee full protection from theft. What is it? How does it happen? Why does it become a problem in the 21st century? Those are the questions you may ask when it comes to this topic. Technological advancement results not only in increasing comfort and convenience in your automobile but also makes it easier for criminals to snatch your auto effortlessly. All conducted research suggests that the rise in automobile theft is caused by the flaws in the development of keyless technology. We should not ignore the other factors influencing those statistics but the point is that it encourages wrongdoers in most cases. 

Keep on reading to know more about Relay car theft, its techniques and strategies, the chances of becoming the victim of this crime, what are the vulnerabilities of your modern automobile and what is the best solution to ensure safety. So if you would like to find out more about the above-mentioned topics, get ready. Let’s get started!

What is relay theft

The type of car theft with specialized electronic equipment is meant to identify and amplify the communications signals between the fob and the automobile. The attack needs two participants, one of them tries to be near the key to pick up the signal and transmit it to another device in the hand of the second attacker. As a result, the automobile is a fool to think the key is near. So it is easy for attackers to feel free, get in the automobile and drive away. 

The most annoying part of this crime is that wrongdoers do not need to steal a physical key, all they need to do is buy a cheap unethical tool for malicious purposes. It just takes 2 minutes for attackers to carry out a plan. If you still don’t believe it, you can google it and watch numerous videos showing how effortless the whole process is. It is almost a child’s play for wrongdoers. 

So, what makes it so easy?  Go on reading to know more about keyless technology and its weaknesses

Keyless entry system and its vulnerabilities

It is an upgraded feature of modern vehicles which allows owners to lock and unlock automobiles without using a physical key. There are variations of this system where you don’t need to press the button, just having the key in a pocket is enough. The system functions based on short-term radio frequency, the key sends the signal to the receiver in a vehicle.  Additionally, there are more functions available, like starting the engine, controlling windows and mirrors and many others. This technology comes as a standard in most automobiles, however, it’s possible to install this system in case of absence. 

Needless to say, this system brings comfort and convenience to any owner. However, they need to pay the price. Why? Because of the vulnerabilities to theft. As it seems the security measures manufacturers take are not enough. Moreover, they do not consider the weakness of keyless technology in terms of safety

It would be unfair to say that manufacturers ignore the problem. According to carmakers such as  Audi,  BMW, Mercedes, Ford and Volkswagen presented motion sensor fobs. It means that they deactivate when they are motionless for a certain period of time. It seems to be a good option, but according to experts, it’s not the best solution against relay box car theft. If you do not trust them, the facts themselves speak volumes. In the following paragraph, you will learn about disappointing statistics for relay theft.


Let’s start with general statistics. Nowadays Relay car theft comprises 50 percent of all stolen automobiles. The rise was dramatic, particularly in 2020, the year of the global pandemic. The theft increased by 5 percent. The president of NICB said that the rise was caused mainly by the pandemic and economic crisis, but we should not ignore owners’ exaggerated self-satisfaction which usually resulted in inattentiveness to their property.

According to automobile security and safety experts,  Thatcham research the most vulnerable models with keyless technology are as followings:

  • Mazda CX-30
  • MG HS Excite T-GDI
  • Subaru Forester e-Boxer XE Premium
  • Vauxhall Corsa Ultimate Turbo 100

The models with motion sensor fobs are better at tackling attackers. For example, you can count on keyless models of  Land Rover, Mini, Porsche, Škoda and Toyota. However, the guaranteed security needs more work from carmakers. Richard Billyeald, Chief Technical Officer, Thatcham Research comments: “It’s also important to remember that the motion-sensor fob, while a good short-term fix, is not the ultimate solution to the keyless vulnerability, which should be designed-out of new vehicles completely in the future.”

The research identified models which missed basic security measures. Those are the followings:  Hyundai, MG and Tesla. 

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released statistics for the most stolen automobiles in 2021. The first most targeted model became  Ford full-size pick-up, followed by the Chevrolet full-size pick-up and Honda Civic.

Theft and insurance 

Relay box car theft is a problem not only for stolen automobiles. The bigger problem is investigating. The point is that as usual,  there are no signs of violence and break-in, so it’s getting hard to prove that you are the victim of this crime. Things get messed up. Police may think that you want to commit insurance fraud. 

You may encounter the same difficulties with insurance companies, you should claim that you are a victim. However, UK based financial services comparison platform warns you that you may expect increasing insurance costs in the next year. Another important aspect to consider is that an insurance policy requires that you have all of your key fobs to make a claim.

At any rate, ensuring the protection of your automobile serves you in many ways. It saves you from financial loss and helps you to get a reasonable insurance quote. Bear in mind, that a poorly secured automobile is not desirable for companies to insure.  

Relay theft prevention 

You can prevent becoming the victim of thieves by taking precautions in advance. The following tips are the elementary measures you can take and do not require extra effort.

Consider switching off the key

Check your owner manual and see if you can switch off the remote. If it is possible, you can switch it off at night. It’s a time when your automobile is the most vulnerable. 

Keep your key far from doors and windows

Do not keep your key close to the door and windows. Find a safe place for it. 

Park in garage or well-lit area

If you have a garage, you can enjoy peace of mind. But if you need to park your automobile outside, find a well-lit area. 

Do not leave your valuables in the automobile

When you leave your valuables like a laptop on the display, it makes your automobile more attractive for the wrongdoer. 

A Secure FOB

If you are searching for the smartest anti-theft solution, let me introduce the best alternative – a Secure FOB that is designed specially against relay car theft. It is an electronic chip installed in the remote, covering the battery from both sides. It has a motion sensor and when it is motionless, the chip will disconnect the battery to make sure that it doesn’t send radio waves without a necessity. This chip is for sale and you can purchase it if you are searching for a device that acts as a blocker to prevent the misuse of this unethical device. It consists of a 3D motion sensor, LED indicator, microprocessor, and flexible base.

You shouldn’t worry about compatibility, the chip is tested and compatible with most makers. So, you won’t encounter any inconvenience. Apart from all mentioned, with this chip, you can enjoy additional benefits, it can extend your battery life. Remote battery life is mostly a reason for worry. So this problem will be solved once and forever. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out.


So,  you already know what exactly is relay box car theft. Its consequences are serious at any rate. So, it’s high time to start thinking about strengthening security measures, if you still do not think about it. choose the best options available and enjoy calmness and comfort at the same time. Do not say no to modern technologies, instead find the best way to maintain them.

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