14 February 2022 ·

Stay Safe: How Thieves are Stealing Cars in the 21st Century

For as long as cars have been around there have been thieves who were ready to steal them. Even in the 21st-century thieves are stealing cars, although they now need more sophisticated technology to get around the anti-theft systems that manufacturers are installing as standard. Buying a new car is a huge investment and it’s normal to be nervous about having it stolen. The good news is that cars are getting harder to steal, and we’re going to look at how vehicle security has changed and the most common ways thieves are breaking into cars.

Cloning Ignition Keys

Keyless entry and start systems are common features of new cars that we all love. The convenience of leaving the key in your pocket and having the car unlock as you approach is hard to beat. But the technology also introduces a new type of car theft. Keyless entry and ignition work using a passive RFID system. Your key emits a radio frequency that the car recognises, allowing you to unlock the doors or start the engine without actually handling the key. To make this work, your key is always emitting this RFID signal.

Key cloning is one of the most common types of high-tech car theft. Using specialty signal cloning equipment, a car thief can read the signal being emitted by a key that’s in your pocket and transmit it to an accomplice who can use the signal to enter and start your car. While the idea behind key cloning is relatively simple, it does require special signal equipment that isn’t readily available.

Cloning Ignition Keys

Cloning VIN Numbers

More complicated than simple key cloning, 21st-century thieves sometimes “clone” entire cars. In its simplest form car cloning involves replicating the number plates that belong to another car, usually of the same make and model. Once the fake number plates are installed on a stolen car, there will be two cars with the same number plates on the road, one legitimate and one illegal.

Cloned license plates aren’t enough to sell a stolen vehicle. So, thieves sometimes take it a step further by stealing or cloning unique Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN). Parts showing the VIN number can be stolen from legally registered vehicles and attached to the stolen car. With some extra forged documentation and registration forms, the stolen car can then be sold to an unsuspecting buyer.

Cloning VIN Numbers

Modern Anti-Theft Systems

Anti-theft technology has come a long way since the days when ordinary keys could unlock a door and start the engine. Car manufacturers were including electronic anti-theft measures back in the 70s, and they’ve only become more common in the years since. With nearly 40,000 car thefts occurring in Australia every year, all major manufacturers are using advanced technology like smart ignition keys, engine immobilisers and stolen car tracking systems.

Modern Anti-Theft Systems

Warding Off 21st Century Car Thieves

Modern cars are much harder to steal than ever before. While key and car cloning do happen, they take a level of planning and equipment that isn’t easily available, even to thieves. You can foil car thieves by storing your car in a secure garage and by keeping your car keys close at hand, even when you’re at home. If a thief can’t find your key to clone it then your car’s immobiliser will keep it safe. All you need to do is find a discreet hiding spot for your keys. Keep your keys hidden when you’re at home, tucked away in a cupboard or drawer, and make them hard to find for anyone who’s up to no good.

Warding Off 21st Century Car Thieves

Stay Safe with Toyota’s Safety Systems at Downtown Toyota

Protect your new car with the state-of-the-art security systems that come pre-installed on every new Toyota. The technology includes engine immobilisers, smart keys and stolen car tracking systems that make it harder for thieves to get away with your new pride and joy. The friendly team at Downtown Toyota can help get you into a new car that has the full benefit of Toyota’s anti-theft systems. Talk to us today for more information or to find out how we can help you with Toyota Access financing.