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How to keep your Range Rover safe from thieves - the ultimate guide
09/02/2024 02:22 in Regional News

Car crime is on the rise - and Range Rovers are particularly in danger as professional gangs target the sought-after motors. 

Vehicles thefts were up 8 per cent annually to 132,489 cases between October 2022 and September 2023, according to Office for National Statistics data published last week.

The latest increase comes amid the recent spike in keyless car crime, which is now the most common tactic used by organised criminals to steal motors. 

And for Range Rover owners, this is having a double whammy impact: not only are the premium SUVs among the most targeted by gangs of car thieves, but the knock-on effect has sparked huge increases in insurance premiums for the vehicles.

We've spoken to Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) to explain how owners of Range Rovers can best protect them from thieves. And we've added guidance from experts in the field of motor crime and vehicle security to help all drivers keep their motors safe.

Jaguar Land Rover and a number of experts in the field of motor crime and vehicle security explain how owners of Range Rovers - and all other brands - can best protect them from thieves and the new tactics they're using to pinch cars© Provided by This Is Money

Exclusive DVLA data shared with MailOnline and This is Money shows the Range Rover Sport was the fifth most-stolen car in Britain in 2023, with 1,631 pinched from owners last year.

The Range Rover Evoque (1,489 stolen) and Land Rover Discovery Sport (954) also made the top 10 of most taken models last year.

The new data follows a separate report from last year that calculated that the Range Rover Velar is the most stolen motor per examples on the road, with two in every 100 being reported taken over a 12-month period.

With the brand's luxury SUVs being targeted by criminals, there have been various reports from owners of premiums for these cars rising dramatically - some have claimed that insurers won't cover them at all.

Some drivers have told MailOnline that JLR's own insurance product - launched last year to tackle the issue - also won't cover them.

Steve Launchbury, principal security engineer at automotive risk intelligence company Thatcham Research, told This is Money that a rise in thefts is the result of organised criminality, with 'sophisticated criminal gangs directing significant resources towards seeking out car security vulnerabilities'.

With police resources stretched, Launchbury says premium vehicle thefts - such as Range Rovers - present a profitable and relatively low risk option for thieves.

'The internet and social media platforms also offer the opportunity for the sharing of vulnerabilities to wide criminal communities, in an instant. Digital devices with valid primary functions are also being reverse engineered for criminal means and can be easily found and purchased online,' he tells us.

'Many manufacturers have implemented effective counter measures, making vehicles with keyless entry systems more resilient to the so-called relay attack. 

'As a result, more recently launched models are less susceptible to this theft technique.'

DVLA figures show Range Rover thefts across all models (including Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Velar) declined by almost 20% between 2022 and 2023. The Range Rover Sport is the 5th most-stolen car of last year (Evoque 6th and Land Rover Discovery Sport 10th)© Provided by This Is Money
Jaguar Land Rover has invested millions of pounds to tackle the big rise in thefts of Range Rover models - but is it working?© Provided by This Is Money

WHAT HAS JLR DONE TO TACKLE THEFTS OF ITS VEHICLES? 

Acknowledging the threat to its vehicles, JLR in November announced it will take the fight to well-funded keyless, tech-equipped car thieves by investing millions to protect customers from the rise in this type of crime.

It confirmed it will fork out £10million retrofitting older models with its latest security technology to create a virtual barrier to block the recent spate of breaches.

 

HOW TO UPGRADE YOUR JAGUAR LAND ROVER MODEL FREE OF CHARGE 

Owners of 2018 onwards Land Rover and Jaguar models are eligible for the free security upgrade.

The security rollout relates to the Body Control Module (BCM) attack - a different keyless theft method to 'relay attacks', which is when criminals duplicate the signal from the key inside a home to unlock a car. 

BCM breaches are where criminals hack the keyless entry system enabling them to start the engine.

Only models from 2018 onwards are eligible for the upgrade, with more than 79,000 vehicles already receiving it. 

'These updated vehicles are now immune' to this type of keyless car crime and 'no vehicles which have had this update have been stolen via the BCM method,' JLR told us.

In fact, since January 2022, only 0.07 per cent of new Range Rover and Range Rover Sports on the road with the latest security setup have been pinched, while only 0.3 per cent of new Defenders had been affected since 2020, the company said.

How to keep your Range Rover safe from thieves - the ultimate guide© Provided by This Is Money

In 2018, JLR also pioneered the development of Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) protection to counteract relay theft methods.

It assures us that any car with the latest UWB setup is not vulnerable to this theft method. 

And there is evidence that JLR's efforts and new tech is having an impact. 

DVLA records show that the number of all Range Rover variants (including Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Velar and Evoque) stolen in 2023 declined by almost 20 per cent compared to 2022.

 

Figures from the Police National Computer Data also show a similar downward trend of thefts of Range Rover vehicles, with a 26 per cent reduction between November 2022 and the same month last year. 

The brand also exclusively revealed to This is Money it is providing 'hundreds of thousands of pounds' in funding to police forces to help them to tackle the flow of stolen vehicles swiftly being exported out of the country. 

Patrick McGillycuddy, JLR UK managing director, told us: 'The rapid decline in Range Rover thefts in the last year, demonstrates the strength of our latest vehicle security measures.

'These significant reductions are a result of engineering our new vehicles to be robust against all known theft methods through the latest anti-theft technology, endorsed by third party experts like Thatcham.

'In fact, our latest data shows that only ten out of 12,200 of the latest model of Range Rovers have been stolen since January 2022.'

Jaguar Land Rover gives its customers five additional security recommendations to help them avoid falling victim of car crime© Provided by This Is Money

JLR'S FIVE ADDITIONAL SECURITY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CUSTOMERS

While JLR is spending millions upgrading its vehicle's security systems to fight keyless car thefts, it offers the following additional advice to its customers regarding extra precautions to take to reduce the chances of thieves attempting to steal their cars:

1. Always lock your car when leaving it unattended.

2. Activate the alarm by pressing the lock button on the key fob twice within a three-second interval.

3. Use the InControl Remote app and switch on Guardian Mode for added security.  This provides vehicle lock reminders and also monitors the vehicle and provides an alert if there is any unauthorised interaction.

4. Ensure the Secure Tracker/Secure Tracker Pro is activated if your vehicle has this feature. This alerts owners and the 'Stolen Vehicle Tracking Centre' if there's an attempt to steal your Range Rover. In the first instance, a theft notification will be sent to the centre where one of the operators will get in touch. Notifications will also pop up on the Remote smartphone app and the InControl website, advising owners to contact the tracking team.

5. Don't leave keys where they can be easily taken, for example near a letterbox – but do not hide them. If thieves break into your home, it is far better for your safety that they do not confront you for your keys.

CAR THEFTS - WHAT DRIVERS OF CARS FROM ALL BRANDS NEED TO KNOW

There are four hi-tech methods being utilised by thieves to steal an increasing number of cars with keyless technology.

While these tactics are often used to target luxury models, organised gangs armed with the right technology are can use these methods to infiltrate a wide variety of vehicles - especially those with keyless systems: 

Around half of all car thefts in the UK today are carried out using relay attacks on keyless cars, insurers have estimated© Provided by This Is Money

1. Relay attack

The first is the 'Relay Attack', which is the one most synonymous with the spike in keyless vehicle crime.

Typically, two thieves will work together, one holds a transmitter next to a car parked on a driveway while the other stands close to the property holding an amplifier. 

The amplifier can boost the signal from the key inside the home and send it to the transmitter. 

The transmitter essentially becomes a ghost key and tricks the car into thinking the real key is nearby and opens the doors.

Around half of all car thefts in the UK today are carried out using relay attacks on keyless cars, insurers have estimated.

2. Key cloning

In this instance, a victim’s keys are usually acquired through places such as unscrupulous garages or car washes.

Criminals can then use a device to clone the car keys without the owner's knowledge by copying its unique signal code onto a blank key.

The genuine key is then returned to the owner and the car and thieves follow them to their home address - or check their customer files - to return at a later time or date to steal the car with the duplicated key.

3. Signal blocking

Signal blocking is a commonly used tactic to steal vehicles in busy car parks.

Thieves will watch for when a driver exits their car and is about to press the lock button on the key fob.

They will then use a signal jammer to block the key from contacting the car in the hope that the owner fails to notice the locks haven't engaged - which is usually alerted with the warning lights blinking and an audible 'beep'.

With the car doors remaining unlocked, this provides easy access for thieves.

There are primarily three hi-tech theft tactics that have been used by professional gangs to pinch high-value motors - but experts warn there is a new method that they're using© Provided by This Is Money

4. The new one - attacking a vehicle's Controller Area Network 

Thieves have recently started to use a new tactic to infiltrate the latest vehicles, Thatcham Research warns. 

Steve Launchbury tells us: 'Criminal gangs are now gaining access to a vehicle's Controller Area Network (CAN) - which is required for digitally enabled safety and convenience functions (such as automatic emergency braking and headlights etc) - often by brazenly cutting into the tailgate or body panels.'

The CAN is rather like the nervous system of a car - it enables communication between the various electronic control units' (ECUs) in a vehicle, with the latest models have around 70 ECUs in total. 

By accessing the CAN, thieves can infiltrate any aspect of the car, including the vehicle's locking system and keyless ignition. 

CAR THEFT STATS AT A GLANCE

· Your car's more likely to be stolen at night – 50% of cars stolen are taken between midnight and 6am.

· 37% of thefts are from private drives and 29% from the street outside owners' homes; 7% are from a private garage at home.

· Cars parked at home on the drive or on the street are most at risk from being broken into; 28% of thefts from cars occur at home on the drive and 45% on the street.

· Away from home, car parks (including car parks at work) account for around 10% of stolen cars, and on-street parking around 14%.

Source: The AA 

EXTRA MEASURES TO TAKE IF YOU HAVE A CAR WITH KEYLESS TECH

If your car has Passive Keyless Entry and Start (PKES), it may be susceptible to the relay attack theft method. 

Thatcham Research explain several steps you can take to make it harder for thieves using this method:

1. Purchase a signal blocking faraday pouch to store your keys in (including spares). Make sure the pouch is designed specifically for keys and test it by inserting your fob into the pouch and attempting to open your vehicle.

2. Refer to your user manual to see if your keyless entry fob can be deactivated at night.

3. Check that you have a motion-sensor enabled fob, which goes to sleep when idle (i.e., when stored at home). Most vehicle manufacturers now produce this type of fob.

4. Keyless entry systems that use an ultra-wideband (UWB) transmission signal - like the one developed by JLR - are not susceptible to relay attacks.

5. Remember the thieves may also operate their relay system even when a driver visits their office or shops with the key in their pocket or bag. 

13 TIPS FOR ALL DRIVERS TO BEAT THE CAR THIEVES 

This is Money has spoken to a number of experts across the field of vehicle security to create a list of 13 tips all car owners should follow to best protect their motors.

We've enlisted the help of Thatcham Research, AA President Edmund King and vehicle crime consultant Dr Ken German - previously head of technology at the Met stolen car squad with a PhD in International Vehicle Crime - to compile the ultimate list of car security tips:

1. Make sure your car is locked in the first place

This may seem obvious, but a large proportion of thefts are a result of the vehicle being left unlocked or criminals using signal jammers that block your key fob from communicating with the car's locks. 

Drivers should always check the vehicle is locked and the windows are up after using a key fob. Listen for the locking noise and watch for the lights to flash and - if your car has them - automatic wing mirrors to fold. 

2. Don't leave your car engine running to defrost windows

Freezing temperatures can tempt drivers into starting the car's engine to deice or defrost the windows, then returning to the warmth indoors until the windscreen is clear.

It might sound obvious but by leaving a vehicle unattended is a huge security risk, even if it's on your own private driveway. In fact, it is illegal to do this, and your insurer is unlikely pay out for any loss if your car is stolen as a result of this.

Thieves will be checking for stationary cars emitting exhaust smoke or that have wing mirrors that normally are folded in when locked but are clearly not.

3. Keep valuables out of sight

'Out of sight, out of mind'. Remove all valuables from your vehicle to make it less of a target to opportunistic thieves.

4. Do you have an alarm and immobiliser?

Ensure your vehicle has a Thatcham-certified alarm, immobiliser and tracking system fitted. Some insurance policies require the fitment of a tracking device, so it's important any associated subscriptions to monitoring services are maintained.

5. Mechanical security systems - like a steering lock - might seem 'old hat' but are a great deterrent

Steering wheel locks, gear clamps, wheel clamps and other traditional security systems can act as a strong visual deterrent against thieves.

6. Install a doorbell camera or CCTV at your home

Doorbell cameras and CCTV systems are becoming increasingly popular as both a deterrent for car crime and to catch thieves.

Make sure you invest in one that has a night vision mode and crisp HD resolution.

Motion-sensing driveway lighting can also be a strong deterrent.

7. If you have a garage, use it!

If you have a garage, try to make sure there is enough room for your car to fit into it, rather than using it for storage for all types of household clutter.

If you have multiple vehicles, almost prioritise the garage for the one of highest value - and park another car in front of the garage door as an extra precaution.

And if you have electric garage doors, do not keep the transponder inside the vehicle, such as in the glovebox. Victims have subsequently found this to be the reason for their property being burgled. 

8. Think about where and how you park overnight

Most car thefts take place under the cloak of darkness, so this is the most important time to consider how secure your vehicle is. 

If you don't have a garage but do have a driveway, always park tactically.

For instance, if you have a big driveway, park the car sideways to so any thief will need to manoeuvre it. If your driveway is smaller, park facing your house to increase the chances of you being alerted to the lights coming on. And park with the wheels turned on full lock to extend the time it takes for criminals to make a getaway. Even consider parking another less desirable car in front (or behind) your vehicle to prevent easy removal.

Those with driveways can also purchase lockable barriers to restrict access - and experts advise that a car cover is often a deterrent due to the time it takes to remove one and will look suspicious to neighbours and passersby.

If you do not have off-street parking, try to leave your car in a well-lit area - ideally with CCTV monitoring - and in a position that makes it difficult for a thief to move quickly.

Ken German tells us that some motorists are being extra inventive in their bid to protect their cars. Some previous victims are leaving mannequins in the driver’s seat to dissuade unwanted visitors. 

9. Check repair centre and bodyshop accreditation to avoid key cloning

If you need to leave your key with a garage or bodyshop, you should check that they are a member of an accredited code of practice/professional standard such as The Motor Ombudsman or The British Parking Association's Park Mark scheme. 

This should reduce your chances of falling victim of key cloning. 

Also, if you have purchased your vehicle second-hand with only one working key, visit an approved repair centre to have the missing key(s) deleted and add a spare as soon as possible.

10. Consider a dashcam or a car with theft alerts

Dashcams have grown in popularity in recent years, with motorists primarily using them to prove they were not at fault in a crash.

They also act as a great theft deterrent. This is because many of these devices will also record suspicious activity around your car is parked up and you're not in it. 

However, make sure you buy one that uploads videos to cloud storage rather than saving it only a memory stick in the dash cam - because you will also lose this if your car is stolen.

Some modern vehicles now offer 'parking mode', which also can also detect and record movement when parked. This can be used as supporting evidence by your insurer and the police.

Many of these alerts will be powered via a smartphone app, so ensure you've activated the feature and turned on notifications.

11. Always wipe stored info from a car before you sell it

Some vehicle apps and connected systems can provide the previous owner with access. 

If permissions remain active, ensure that all permissions and data linked to the previous owner are wiped.

12. 'Locust' thieves might strike twice

A new wave of 'locust thieves' exist today who strip cars whilst they're parked at the side of the road and even outside owners' homes. 

Many people have woken up to find wheels, bonnets and grills and even doors missing from their cars rendering them undriveable. This is because these parts are becoming more valuable since the pandemic with factory closures and slowdowns meaning some components are not as readily available from manufacturers as pre-Covid.

For instance, a Porsche headlight can be worth up to £1,000 today, which has driven a rise in these parts being stolen. Wing mirrors for top of the range vehicles are also easy-to-steal high-value components.

Ken German warns that falling victim to locust thieves might not be the end of the story. He says owners who have had parts pinched from their car should check around and under the vehicle to ensure thieves have not fitted a tracking device so they can track when the motor is not being used and return at a later date to attempt to steal it.

13. Be aware of scam crash tactics deployed to steal cars

While carjacking still exists today, it is not as prevalent in the UK as it is in some other countries, such as South Africa.

That said, if you are in a high value vehicle you would be wise to drive with the doors locked in traffic. 

Also drive defensively when in a queue leaving enough space in front for you to get out of a tight spot should you need to.

If your vehicle is bumped from behind, wait to pull over and find somewhere safe where there are people. If you're suspicious don't unlock the door and call the police. 

WHAT STEPS DO I TAKE IF MY CAR HAS BEEN STOLEN?

Scott Dixon aka The Complaints Resolver gives his top tips to avoid buying a clocked car© Provided by This Is Money

Scott Dixon, consumer and motoring disputes expert and the man behind the successful Complaints Resolver website gives a step-by-step guide on what to do if your car has been stolen.

1. Make sure your car has actually been stolen before reporting it 

Double-check that your vehicle has really been stolen before you call the police and your insurer.

Ask yourself the following questions: 

Was your vehicle parked where you thought it was?

Has your partner or family member used the car without you knowing?

Was your vehicle parked illegally? If so, it may have been towed away by the Council and in a vehicle compound.

Only once you have the answer to these questions should you move on to contacting the authorities. 

2. Only call 999 if the theft is an emergency 

If you are sure your vehicle has been stolen, contact the police on 101 with the vehicle registration number, make, model and colour of the vehicle.

Only dial 999 if you consider the situation an emergency, such as the thieves taking your car at that very moment or being inside your home.

 

3. Provide as much info as possible to the police 


If you have photos of your car on your phone, provide them to the police to help them help you find your car.

If your property has CCTV or a doorbell with a camera, tell the police to they can view the footage as part of their investigation. Let them know if your car has a black box/tracking device for insurance purposes, which may help them quickly recover your vehicle.

If your car has an aftermarket tracking device fitted, also contact the supplier to make them aware your car has been taken. 

4. If the car is financed or leased, let the lender know it has been pinched 

You may not be the owner of the stolen vehicle. 

If the vehicle has been hired, leased or you have outstanding finance on the car, you will need to contact the lender/registered owner of the vehicle.

Any party with a financial interest or ownership of the vehicle will need to be notified immediately and put in touch with your insurance company.

5. Let your insurer and the DVLA know your car is stolen

If your car is confirmed stolen, you will need to let your insurer know.

You will also need to inform the DVLA if your insurance company pays out. The reason for this is because the insurance company becomes the registered keeper of the vehicle.

This applies even if the vehicle is eventually recovered, as they will have settled your claim and effectively transferred ownership.

6. Provide evidence for the value of your car if you're unhappy with the insurance pay out 

After making a claim following a theft, not all car owners are satisfied with how much the insurer offers.

To prevent this happening to you, gather your evidence to prove the car was worth more by using car price guides and prices online. 

Claims can take some time to be settled. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules say that your insurer must either make a reasonable offer to settle your claim within 3 months. This is covered in Chapter 8 of the FCA Handbook.

Follow your insurer's internal complaints process if you believe there are unreasonably long delays in settling your claim without good reason and cite what the FCA says regarding claims settlements.

YOUR RIGHTS IF PERSONAL ITEMS ARE STOLEN FROM YOUR CAR

In cases where the vehicle isn't stolen but items inside it are, there are a number of recommendations Scott Dixon has in order to help victims receive compensation. 

'It is worth checking your home insurance policy to see if items such as wallets, laptops, mobile phones and other electronic devices are covered,' Scott tells us.

'By claiming on your home insurance instead of your car insurance for such items, you keep your car insurance 'no claims' intact. This will reduce the perceived risk an insurer takes when your car insurance is due for renewal and keep your premium down.'

However, you cannot claim on both insurance policies and insurance firms share data to mitigate fraudulent claims. 

The Association for British Insurers (ABI) say: 'Tackling insurance fraud remains an industry strategic priority. 

'In 2022, insurers detected 72,600 dishonest insurance claims valued at £1.1billion. 

'It is estimated that a similar amount of fraud goes undetected each year.'





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