By: Alanna Autler | The Ones For Justice

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If you’re heading out of town before New Year’s, there’s one device making you an easy target for burglars: your garage door remote.

Garage doors are the partition between your family and the rest of the world, and you don’t even need a house key to open them.

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“Absolutely. We see it,” said Colby Tolbert, of Tolbert Garage Doors. “It’s happening.”

Tolbert started noticing a trend: thieves breaking into cars and stealing garage door remotes.

“They may come back not even the next day, maybe a week later,” Tolbert said.

The device can be used to access your home, especially if you leave the door to your garage unlocked. Most alarm systems won’t trigger when the garage door opens.

Homeowner Amy Hyde of Grand Prairie, Texas never thought twice about it.

“I never thought of that but it’s something people need to be aware of because it could happen,” said Hyde.

There’s an easy way to make a stolen remote useless.

Instead of simply replacing the clicker, reset the system entirely. Until you do, thieves can still access your garage and home.

“If they stole your remote, what you can do is hold this lock button down,” Tolbert said. “Some are 10, some are 30 seconds until it continuously blinks.”

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This simple action will tell your garage door to ignore any remote, whether it’s stolen or not.

It’s a temporary fix until your garage door company erases the remotes.

But in some cases, thieves don’t even need your device.

“They’ll get a coat hanger, they’ll grab [the red string],” Tolbert demonstrated. “Now they’re in your garage with no remote.”

If you’re heading out of town, Tolbert said you can secure your garage for free.

“If you put a zip tie between this hole and this hole, you can only disengage it from inside the garage so they won’t be able to get that coat hanger and pull it,” Tolbert said.

Amy Hyde says from now on, she’s taking that door clicker inside so she never needs to worry.

“If someone’s smart and they want to get in your house, that’s the weakest line of defense to get in,” Hyde said.

If your console doesn’t have a lock button, you can upgrade it for less than $75.

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One easy way to protect yourself? Hide the remote in your glove compartment or console. When you’re at home, bring the device with you inside the house.