How to foil a ‘fob job’

November 29, 2020 by PEMCO Insurance

Think porch pirating is the most despicable crime a thief can commit without entering your home? Consider the "fob job." That's when a thief unlocks your car by amplifying the signal from your keyless fob – even if it's safely inside your home.

GettyImages-1182725565.jpgThe crime (technically called a "relay attack") relies on some techno-trickery to hijack the signal from your key fob, fool your car into unlocking and allow the thief to steal whatever's inside. And for some push-to-start cars, the thief could even drive away, since the engine will run when it's out of range of your fob until the driver shuts it off or the car runs out of gas.

The technique doesn't work on all keyless models, and fob jobs are hard to detect, since there's no broken glass on the ground, no blaring car alarm, no missing key fob. And fortunately, since the amplification equipment requires some technical know-how, it's outside the realm of many common car thieves.

Still, it may be worth safeguarding your keyless fob in a pouch that blocks radio signals (similar to an RFID-blocking sleeve for your credit card), especially if you'll be parking outside at a hotel during the holidays. Even dropping your keys into a metal coffee can may interfere with the signal enough to help.

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