Skip to content

RCMP warn about the use of smart key emulators in vehicle thefts

RCMP in Alberta are warning the public about the use of smart key emulators being used in vehicles thefts.

 RCMP in Alberta are warning the public about the use of smart key emulators being used in vehicles thefts.  

According to information released by Red Deer RCMP, a smart key emulator is a device that allows one to create - or emulate - a key for certain car models without using or having the original smart key.  

Once a key has been emulated, the device can open and close the doors, trunk, and even start the engine of a vehicle at any time. 

“The emulator takes over the basic functions of the original smart key and essentially becomes the smart key,” explains RCMP. 

Staff Sgt. Sarah Parke of the Bonnyville RCMP says there is no way to track for certain which methods are being used to steal vehicles, including the use of a smart key emulator, however, one prevention tool that is available for the public to arm themselves with is an RFID pouch.  

During a community event on Feb. 2, members of Bonnyville RCMP handed out free RFID pouches and steering wheel clubs. 

Parke explains that smart key fobs are constantly emitting a signal, which allows a motorist to unlock their door while the key fob is still in their pocket.  

“Unfortunately, criminals have developed ways to attract and replicate that signal to gain access to your vehicle when you and your key fob are nowhere near it,” she says. “When the key fob is kept inside an RFID pouch it prevents the signal from emitting and thus from being stolen or duplicated.” 

The Red Deer RCMP information also lists several safety measures that the public can take to protect themselves against key fob emulators.  

Police encourage residents to not leave valuable items such as purses, GPS units, shopping bags or electronics in their vehicle. If they must be left in a vehicle, drivers are advised to keep them out of sight in a locked glove box or trunk.  

If possible, the public should park their vehicles in a closed garage, which makes it a less inviting target for thieves. 

Also, it is recommended that motorists use a steering wheel lock, also known as a club, to deter thieves. Residents can also install motion detection light and exterior surveillance cameras at their homes, and store key fobs in a metal container when not in use. The metal provides a barrier that interrupts radio signals to and from the smart fob. 

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks