AAA warns of thieves hacking key fobs, stealing cars

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The AAA released a statement this week, warning of the new ways thieves are getting into and stealing cars.

If your vehicle is operated by a key fob, the signal on it, can be hacked, allowing thieves to access your vehicle, and drive away in your car.

“With these amplifiers they’re able to get in and sometimes even start a vehicle,” Diana Gugliotta, the Director of Public Affairs for AAA Northeast said.

Law enforcement experts said this is a relatively new way to commit a crime that goes hand in hand with the new technology of today’s push-to-start vehicles.

“And those vehicles are they keyless-start capability vehicles, so if you have a car where you could just press a button to start your car, you could potentially be vulnerable to this type of a hack,” Todd McGhee, a law enforcement and security analyst told ABC 6 News.

Experts also say a couple ways to avoid being a victim of one of these thefts is to bring your key further into your home, away from the doors, so these amplifiers have a harder time reaching the fob. Or to buy a metal box or a radio frequency identification bag to store the fob in.

Another cost-effective way to protect yourself is to wrap the fob in tin foil.

“Also, another way that a person could look at their owner’s manual, there’s a way to shut of that fob from emitting that signal,” McGhee added.

Earlier this year, a TikTok trend began showing juveniles how to steal Kia’s and Hyundai’s.

AAA feels that these kinds of social media challenges and trends, are teaching young people how to commit crimes like this, leading to even more dangerous situations for inexperienced drivers.

“The national traffic highway safety administration is actually started to track these crashes related to these challenges and already have found 14 crashes and 8 fatalities in respect to these hacks,” Gugliotta said.

AAA also said because of other social media trends, traditional car keys can be hacked too, and its causing manufacturers like Kia and Toyota to perform software updates to prevent thieves from accessing those.

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