Fob Counterfeiting

July 2019

Fob copying services present a new security risk for condo communities.

Fobs are popular because they provide a convenient way to access a building that is controllable.  Unlike keys, fobs can be programmed for specific individuals or uses.  They may provide access to a building and public areas.  Other fobs may provide access to amenity, equipment or utility areas.  Some user fobs may not open doors in parking areas.  Certain doors may be inaccessible late at night or during specific times of the day.  Unlike keys, fob technology includes a log of who is using it and where it is used.  They can be deactivated when lost, stolen or misplaced.

Fobs can be abused.  They have become easy to duplicate in minutes at nominal cost.  Fob copying services can now be found advertising throughout Toronto including Amazon and Kijiji.  Fob copying technology can be purchased for under $200.  Copied fobs may be provided to short-term renters, contractors or unauthorized individuals to obtain access to a building.  Cloned fobs can be used without a security record of who is using it.

Unauthorized use of fobs is a security nightmare.  Condo rules and declarations may prescribe security measures easily circumvented through fob copying.

Some corporations stipulate that condo owners and residents must obtain fobs through the management office.  This ensures each fob is registered to a suite or individual, the corporation is aware of all fobs in circulation, and that fobs are deactivated as appropriate.

The best security is to ensure all fob purchases and activations are through the management office.  Residents should be advised that any other duplication or activation is not permitted.  Where resident fobs have been found to be duplicated, all fobs for their suite may be deactivated.  Re-registration of fobs may be required for subsequent building access.

Undertaking a periodic fob audit can ensure all fobs are verified.  Unverified fobs should be deactivated.

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