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Car crooks find a new key to easy crime.

JEMMIES, slim-jims and screwdrivers used to be the tools of the car theft trade but these days criminals are more likely to be armed with legitimate vehicle keys.

Car-jacking and stealing keys are on the increase but a new report from independent security technology consultants SBD reveals that the determined thief does not have to take such risks when duplicate keys are relatively easy to get hold of.

SBD researched the procedures used in the UK by seven of Europe's largest car makers - BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot/ Citroen, Toyota, Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen.

SBD managing director David Bell said: "The way in which a customer's identity is checked is not always carried out thoroughly by dealerships.

"Even where it is, staff appear to have little or no formal training in how to identify forged documents.

"This leaves loopholes because dealerships are not skilled in fraud prevention and only have limited responsibility for the consequences."

Volkswagen-Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have the toughest systems but even they have weaknesses.

The report makes recommendations such additional vehicle keys being automatically deprogrammed when a new key is obtained, and tightening ownership checks by stringent use of PINs, training in spotting forged documents and using a national database.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Feb 24, 2006
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