Car Thieves Could Be Using Apple AirTags For Tracking And Jacking Your Ride
Car thieves in Canada have been caught using Apple Air Tags to track high-end vehicles in order to steal them. However, there are steps you can take to safeguard yourself against it.
Apple AirTags are a handy way to keep track of your most prized possessions. They can be used to easily find your keys that dropped down into the sofa, or your misplaced backpack that's holding your work laptop. The device has a built in speaker that can play a sound to alert you of where your lost item is. The nifty little trackers can also be used to find items with what Apple calls Precision Finding. This fun little game of hide and seek, which works with the iPhone Find My app, will let you know what direction your item is and how far you are from it. While all this may seem like a great way to keep track of various items, it seems it is also a great way for car thieves to track and steal vehicles.
The York Regional Police Auto/Cargo Theft Unit are currently advising residents that they have uncovered a method of auto theft in the area where thieves are utilizing AirTags to track and steal high-end vehicles. Officers have investigated 5 incidents where the suspects have used AirTags so that they can locate and steal the cars at a later time. Thieves will place an AirTag in an inconspicuous location on the target vehicle while they are parked in public places. At a later time, the thieves use the device to find the targets' residence and then steal the car right out of the driveway.
The AirTags are not the only tech the criminals use. Typically they will also use a screwdriver to gain access through one of the car's doors, being careful not to set off the car's alarm. They will then connect an electronic device that is normally used by mechanics to reprogram the car's computer to factory settings. After the device is connected to the onboard diagnostics port below the dashboard, it is utilized to program the vehicle to use a key they have brought with them. The car bandits will then use the key that has now been programmed to start the target vehicle and just drive away.
It is not a stretch to believe that car thieves all over the world where AirTags are available are using these devices much in the same way. As the York Regional Police pointed out, thieves are continually developing new methods to pull off their heists. But there are things you can do to safeguard your vehicle, as it relates to Apple AirTags. One way will require that you have an iPhone. Apple offers anti-tracking features that alert owners when a nearby AirTag is tracking their location. This safeguard method can't be disabled by anyone other than the iPhone owner using the feature.
York Regional Police also offer some advice if you do not own an iPhone. If at all possible park your vehicle in a locked garage. If you don't have a garage, you can possibly deter an auto thief by using a steering wheel lock. Yet another way to make it more difficult for the thieves to steal your automobile is by placing a lock on the data port. These devices can be purchased online and will act as a deterrent by blocking access to the computer port. If you have the funds you can also invest in a quality video surveillance system. While this method may not be enough to keep your car from being jacked out of your driveway, it could give police vital information as to who stole it. Finally, inspect your car on a regular basis. If you do happen to spot a suspicious device you should notify police immediately.
AirTag technology isn't solely used by car thieves either. Stalkers can use these devices to track intended victims. A mistrusting partner might use an AirTag to keep track of their significant other. AirTags may very well be life-savers to those who constantly lose things, but people always find nefarious ways of abusing technology.