Carjackers are going increasingly technical in their attempts to steal cars – by using Apple AirTags to track high-end vehicles.
Cops in the York region of Ontario, Canada, have recorded at least five incidents in weeks where thieves have concealed the small devices on cars before tracking them with their iPhones and stealing the vehicles from owners’ driveways.
Police say that thieves target vehicles in parking lots and public areas by concealing the AirTags worth $29 each behind gas caps and bumpers.
The thieves track the vehicle and choose the best time to take it.
York Regional cops have reported a spate of such thefts – and have warned the technique could soon become more widespread.
According to the York Regional Police, high-end vehicles, such as Lexus S350s or Ford F150s, Toyota Highlanders or Honda C-RVs were targeted.
Apple Air Tags are a new product that Apple released in April. They can attach to keychains, backpacks and purses. The circular devices are equipped with Bluetooth connectivity to pair with an iPhone or iPad and track missing items through the ‘Find My’ app.
The carjackers stole a vehicle from a house after being tracked using the AirTag device.
Canadian carjackers are using the AirTag ($29) device launched in April to identify vehicles, and later, steal them.
Thieves placed the device in the hidden parts of vehicles, including bumpers, hitches and gas caps.
York Regional Police has provided vehicle owners with advice on keeping their car safe in order to avoid future theft.
You can park your car in a garage, instead of driveways. Also you can lock the steering wheel.
Apple also implemented security measures that include notifying iPhone owners if their AirTags are in their vehicles.
If the owner doesn’t have an iPhone, the alarm will sound approximately eight to twelve hours later.
Detective Jeff McKercher from the York Regional Police has advised vehicle owners that they park in a garage and not in a lost parking lot. He also suggested using steering wheel locks.
Owners are asked to notify the police if an AirTag is discovered in their vehicle.
AirTags have become a popular feature in the United States, even though they are mostly reported from Canada.
Fox11’s Dr. Brendan Saltaformaggio stated that AirTags can be used to track people, which is a problem.
“The tag is able to tell if the tag is being followed by someone else than its owner. You can make the tag sound or it may vibrate. You can have your iPhone send you a message if the tag has a higher resolution.
Fox claimed that the device’s location feature could make it possible to steal cars in an August report.
Fox News Autos tested the product in a theft locator mode and placed it in various vehicles at different locations.
Because it accurately pinned all vehicles’ locations, the test ran proved successful.
AirTag’s function as a vehicle tracking device was also utilized to track a stolen $800 scooter from Brooklyn by a man in the middle of summer.
Trail of Bits CEO Dan Guido had two Air Tags attached to his scooter. One was in the wheelwell as a decoy, and one within the handlebar stem. Both were covered with heavy, black duct tape.
He had requested the police’s assistance to recover the car, and he was able to use the scooter.
Guido claimed that the theft occurred because Guido searched for an alarm to turn off.
This device went on sale April 30 and is compatible with BlueTooth connectivity. It can pair with either an iPhone or iPad. Personalization options include a short message, an emoji or a personalized URL.
It can attach to backpacks, keys, and purses to help you track your lost items.
AirTag is similar to the Tile tag and can be attached to keys or wallets. It also provides notification when the item becomes lost.
You can use the ‘Find My App’ to find the tag or missing product.
Find My lets people track the whereabouts of their Apple devices, such as iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and AirPods, in case they get lost – but AirTag extends this to other everyday, non-electronic items.