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Thieves targeting keyless vehicles; know how to protect yourself

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The new technology making our everyday lives easier is also making it easier for thieves to steal cars. Specifically, cars that no longer require physical keys but instead have fobs or push-button starts.

It’s the same thing as that, just in a new technology way,” Craig Hudson, a special agent with the Virginia State Police Department, said.

Hudson has been with the department for nearly 20 years. He says gradually over time, he has seen an increase in car thefts across the state, with a big jump from 2022 to 2023.

In Virginia, we had 13,000 and some-odd stolen vehicles and in (20)23 it went up to 15,000,” Hudson said.

One new way thieves are stealing cars nationwide is by carrying out so-called ‘relay attacks.’ They wait for you to leave your car, then use portable technology to pick up a fob’s signal, and relay that signal back to the transmitter, eventually opening the door.

Thieves tend to stay concealed as much as they can,” Hudson said.

To prevent your car from being stolen, there are a few things you can do.

1. Get yourself a signal blocker.

2. Use a steering head club.

3. Change your car’s settings by deactivating the wireless feature.

4. Park your car in a secure area that’s well lit.

But if none of those are for you, there are other options.

Something as simple as an air tag would help, said Hudson.

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