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Can you protect your car from high-tech theft?

July’s Startline Used Car Tracker shows that although 44% are aware that car thefts are on the rise – they increased by a quarter in 2022, according to Government figures – only 18% have heard of methods used such as relay theft, key cloning and signal blocking.
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Paul Burgess

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4 July 2023

ALMOST nine out of 10 motorists (88%) don’t know how to protect their car against a new wave of high-tech thefts, according to new research.

July’s Startline Used Car Tracker shows that although 44% are aware that car thefts are on the rise – they increased by a quarter in 2022, according to Government figures – only 18% have heard of methods used such as relay theft, key cloning and signal blocking.

Paul Burgess, Chief Executive at Startline Motor Finance, said: “There’s been a pretty rapid increase in car thefts and the rise is largely due to increasing sophistication on the part of car thieves, using a range of quite advanced methods to gain access to cars.

“Our new research shows that motorists seem to be aware of these facts but have not yet caught up when it comes to basic measures that help to protect their car against crime.

“Relatively low-cost, simple methods can have a real impact. Keeping your key well away from your car can limit the potential for theft while storing the key in a Faraday wallet is a low cost and effective solution. Also, some keys can simply be put into sleep mode.

“Turning to old-school theft prevention devices like steering locks is another good idea. Thieves who are using a high-tech approach to stealing your car are generally less well-equipped to start grappling with physical barriers.”

The Startline Used Car Tracker also showed that 9% of those surveyed knew someone whose car had recently been stolen. Burgess added: “This seems like a relatively high percentage and helps explain why public awareness of the issue is widespread.”

The Startline Used Car Tracker is compiled monthly for Startline Motor Finance by APD Global Research, well-known in the motor industry for their business intelligence reporting and customer experience programs. This time, 319 consumers and 50 dealers were questioned.

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Chris Wright

Chris Wright

Chris Wright has been covering the automotive industry nationally and internationally for 30 years. Following spells with consumer titles he became News Editor of Automotive Management (AM), Editor of Automotive International, International Editor for Detroit-based Automotive News, and Editor of Dealer Update. He has also co-authored several FT Management Reports and contributes regularly to Justauto.com

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