The RCMP is warning the public of a new method crafty criminals are using to steal vehicles. 

Smart key emulators are devices that allow people to create (emulate) a key for certain car models without using or having the original smart key. 

“After emulating the key, the device can open and close the doors and trunk, as well as start the engine at any time, over an infinite number of times. The emulator takes over the basic functions of the original smart key and essentially becomes the smart key,” a spokesperson for the RCMP said in a media release. 

Smart key emulators can be easily purchased online. They are created to collect data sent from the ignition coil and emulate the vehicle key chip. 

To prevent a key fob emulator from being used on you to steal your vehicle, RCMP suggests storing all your key fobs in a metal container when you're not using them. The metal helps to provide a barrier that interrupts radio signals to and from the smart fob. 

Alternatively, inexpensive radio-frequency identification (RFID) pouches are available at many stores and are lined with mesh metal that shields a key fob from sending or receiving radio signals. 

Other suggestions by the RCMP to prevent car theft in general include: 

  • Don’t leave valuable items such as purses, shopping bags, or electronics in your car. If you must do so, make sure they are out of sight and locked in the glove box or trunk. 
  • Park your car in a closed garage 
  • Block your vehicle between your garage and a second, less sought-after vehicle 
  • Use a steering wheel lock to deter thieves 
  • Install motion detection lights and exterior surveillance cameras at home 

Mounties said that on occasion, some thieves are known to return to steal the replacement vehicle after the first one has been stolen, and they suggest continuing to follow these tips. 

If your car has been broken into or stolen, the RCMP says to report all thefts to the police, whether by phone, in person, or by using the RCMP app. 

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