Thieves are hacking into key fobs to drive away with newer push to start cars

Here’s how you can prevent your key fob from being hacked

The Local 4 Defenders look into how to keep your car's key fob from being hacked.

DETROIT – High-tech thieves are hacking into key fobs to steal cars and experts say it’s starting to become more common.

Jennifer Wilson just got her brand new custom-built Dodge Charger. She paid $90,000 and it was stolen within four days after she got it.

Thieves hacked her key fob to get in, start the car and drive away with it.

“They actually had a programmer. I am sure. Which, they cost around $8,000. These kids out here know how to do it and they are getting in these cars so quick. It’s unbelievable to me,” Wilson said.

Sam Hussein owns Metrotech Automotive in Dearborn. Hussein said thieves are getting more sophisticated.

He said customers come into his shop after recovering their stolen car and discovering their key fob doesn’t work. That’s because the thieves reproduce new key fobs for push-to-start vehicles right before they steal them. He said he’s seeing victims come in two to three times a week.

The thieves are using a programer to program a new key fob to turn on the vehicle. Once that’s done the original key will no longer work.

Just last week Detroit police found key fobs and a key fob programmer in a car during a traffic stop. The thieve just needs to be close to your key fob for the programmer to pick up and reproduce its signal.

If you keep your key fob in any kind of can it will stop the programmer from reading any of the radio waves the fob emits.

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About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.