A federal investigation has found hundreds of stolen car fobs are being smuggled across the border where smugglers are reselling them across Imperial and San Diego County in Southern California.
The stolen key fobs come from auto plants like Ford, Dodge, and Mazda located across the border where the smugglers then sneaked them across the Calexico port of entry.
For the past year-and-a-half federal investigators have been trying to catch Wilberth Jose Gomez and Jennifer Verdin as they are suspected of selling key fobs online or to selected retailers.
According to federal documents, Gomez admitted to importing the key fobs and that some he purchased were stolen from auto manufacturing plants in Mexico.
Over the investigation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers confiscated over 100 Ford fobs, 50 Dodge fobs, and 88 fobs from Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota.
The concern is if that if these key fobs get into the wrong hands, they can access your car.
"It appears that thieves can steal the code from a certain transmitter and then re-transmit," said Baron Baker, President of Sound Check Systems. "Fobs are programmed to the specific vehicle, and it shouldn't work on any vehicle, but sometimes it can."
In case you lose your keys, Baker says, don't just buy a replacement anywhere and make sure you notify the dealership.
AAA suggests storing key fobs in a metal container when not in use. The metal provides a barrier that interrupts radio signals to and from the smart fob. Or, try adding a tracking device so it can help officers track down the car in case of robbery.