A lot of times, news stories about new crime trends turn out to be fake or at the very least overblown. But it’s starting to look like there actually is a real trend of people using Apple AirTags to track cars they plan to steal later. The latest story involves a Detroit man who says he found one on his 2018 Dodge Charger Scat Pack.
According to Fox 2 Detroit, John Nelson had only owned his Charger for two days when he parked it at Great Lakes Crossing, a shopping centre in Auburn Hills, a small city about 48 km north of downtown Detroit. After shopping for about two hours, he said he left for a friend’s house. That’s when he received a notification on his phone that he was being tracked by an AirTag.
For anyone who isn’t already familiar, AirTags are small tracking devices intended to help people find easily misplaced items such as car keys using Apple’s Find My app. And even if your hypothetical lost keys are too far away for your personal phone to connect to the AirTag, it can use other Apple devices nearby to let you know where they are.
That last feature is the one that allows people to use AirTags for more nefarious purposes. You know, like tracking cars to steal later or possibly to stalk someone.
As Nelson discovered, if your car’s location is being tracked by an unknown AirTag, Apple will notify you. But if he’d been using an Android phone instead, he never would have known what was happening until it was too late. The good news is, he was able to find and remove it before thieves came to steal his car.
“I was able to click on that notification and it gave me an option to have the air tag emit a sound and I heard it underneath my vehicle,” Nelson told Fox 2.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of AirTags being used by potential car thieves, either. It’s reportedly happening more frequently in the Detroit metro area, as well as in other cities such as Austin, Texas. Ontario, Canada has also reported at least five similar incidents in the last couple of months.