Today's vehicles are more high-tech, expensive, and luxurious than ever before. That also makes them more desirable. Police in the Halton region have said that they have seen a marked increased in high-end vehicle thefts in 2021, and many are tied to vehicles with keyless entry and push-button starts.
Keyless vehicle theft, also known as relay theft, is a significant issue in Halton, with over half of auto thefts now executed using technology that evades modern security practices. Thieves do not need to have a key fob to steal the vehicle; instead, they use a device that seeks out the key fob signal from inside a residence, amplifies it to unlock and start the nearby vehicle, and drive away with owners being none the wiser.
Toyota is one manufacturer that has taken steps to combat the recent increase in vehicle theft. Toyota Safety Connect is a suite of four services that connect vehicle drivers/owners with emergency services. Vehicles that come equipped with Safety Connect as part of Entune are given a complimentary three-year trial that commences on the vehicle's in-service date. Additionally, one of the features of Toyota's Safety Connect is the Stolen Vehicle Locator, which can help with the vehicle's potential recovery in conjunction with local authorities.
What Do I Do If My Toyota Is Stolen?
The first step to take if your vehicle is stolen is to contact the police, file a stolen vehicle report, and record the report number, as well as the filing officer's name and badge number. Next, call 1‑888-TOYOTA8 and advise the Agent that your vehicle is equipped with Safety Connect, that it has been stolen, and that you wish to invoke a search. Upon confirmation of your subscription and validation of the police information, vehicle locating activities will be initiated. Law enforcement will contact you and detail next steps, should your vehicle be recovered.
How Do I Protect Against Keyless Vehicle Theft?
You have many options to help protect against keyless vehicle theft. These include:
- Using a Blocking Pouch. A blocking pouch prevents remote access to your key fob. The fob's radio frequency is isolated, and transmission of the frequency is prevented thanks to the pouch's metallic lining. These simple, small, and cheap pouches fit most key fobs.
- Turning off Keyless Entry. The wireless signal transmitted by your key fob can be manually turned off, eliminating the ability of thieves to intercept the signal.
- Putting on a Steering Wheel Lock. Thieves planning to rely on digital tools to steal your vehicle now face a physical obstacle when a steering wheel lock is in place.
- Engaging a Vehicle Wheel Clamp - Another physical barrier anti-theft device, a tire clamp or boot means that thieves literally cannot move your vehicle to steal it.
If you are looking for the best anti-theft vehicle devices, a steering wheel lock or boot clamp might seem outdated, but they physically prevent thieves from moving your vehicle, even if they can get in and start it. For something simpler, use motion-detecting lights and security cameras outside your house while safely storing your key fob in a blocking pouch inside away from entrances.
My Vehicle Was Stolen. Now What?
If your vehicle was stolen, stay calm and start making calls.
- Call the Police Immediately. You will need to relay vital information to law enforcement, such as the make, model, year, and colour of your vehicle, as well as any distinct features. You should also provide your license plate number, vehicle identification number, and where and when you last saw your vehicle.
- Contact Your Insurance Company. After filing the police report, notify your insurance company that your vehicle has been stolen. They will want additional details about the contents of your vehicle, as well as a copy of the police report.
- Contact Your Leasing Company. If your leased vehicle is stolen, there is an additional call to make- one to your finance or leasing company. They are the actual owners of your vehicle and need to be informed. In addition, if or when a stolen vehicle is recovered, it continues to be owned by the leasing company.
After the shock of the theft has worn off, you might have additional questions, such as:
- Do I still have to make payments on a stolen vehicle?
a. Yes, you are still required to make your vehicle payments and insurance payments on your stolen vehicle until the situation is resolved.
- Does my insurance increase if my vehicle is stolen?
a. The only real answer is that it depends on your insurance company. Some drivers might see no change, while others might see an increase in their auto insurance rates as filing a claim can impact premiums.
Unfortunately, relay thefts are becoming more common as key fobs push out traditional vehicle keys. However, vehicle owners can take many steps
to help prevent theft.