Newer technology used to help consumers keep track of their stuff is now being easily used by criminals to keep track of things they would like to steal.
Apple introduced AirTags last year, and promoted the button-shaped tracking devices as a “super easy way to keep track of your stuff. Attach one to your keys. Put another in your backpack. And just like that, they’re on your radar in the Find My app.”
But the same technology that helps consumers find their lost car keys can help criminals track tagged cars for potential future theft.
A recent video posted by the Toronto Police Services highlighted how criminals discreetly place AirTags (or similar products such as Samsung Galaxy SmartTag) on vehicles they cherish in parking lots and then use the tracking technology to later locate and steal the vehicles from unsuspecting owners. The tags are magnetic, so can easily be placed without detection behind license plates, or elsewhere.
The four-minute video was posted in late March and had more than 1.5 million views by June 1. In the video, Toronto police officer Marco Ricciardi noted that Apple iPhone users may be notified of Air Tags in their vicinity. If an AirTag is found on the vehicle, Ricciardi said the car owners should call police, and could also de-activate the device’s battery. Ricciardi also noted that Apple has an android-compatible app to locate tag devices.