How common is electronic car theft?

My brother had his truck stolen from the garage (he thinks he forgot to close the garage door). He’s convinced it was an electronic car theft – somebody intercepted his fob signal and used it to take his truck. But he also can’t find his spare set of keys. He’s been known to leave them in the truck so he can just get in and start the thing. How likely is it that thieves are going door to door and scanning for people’s signals? – Jeff, Brampton

There are likely crooks out there using tech to steal cars – but most don’t need to, police say.

“The No. 1 issue right now is still warm-up thefts, where the car’s running with the keys in it,” said Sergeant Matt Bertram, Peel Regional Police spokesman. “We don’t have numbers on electronic thefts – when we talk to investigators, they say there’s no way to tell unless you recover the car or [thieves] confess to it.”

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So, what’s electronic theft? It’s when thieves use devices to take your car – and there are different ways to do it.

One is a wireless relay attack, in which thieves scan the signal from your keyless fob sitting inside the house – for instance, in your jacket next to your front door. They create a cloned fob that lets them get in your car and start it.

Or, if they can get into your car – either by breaking in, jamming your fob’s signal so your door doesn’t lock or just opening the door because you left it unlocked –…

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