Gadgets

How To Save Yourself From Apple AirTags And Car Thieves

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AirTags

Car thieves are working with Apple AirTags to steal cars, report the York Regional Police (YRP) in the suburbs north of Toronto.

According to the YRP’s public service announcement, the thieves look for cars they want in public places, such as shopping mall parking lots. When they find a car they want, they quietly place an AirTag on the car so no one can notice, such as inside the gas-fill flap door, in a tow hitch, inside a bumper or anywhere else they find it suitable.

“We’ve started to notice a new trend emerging in the auto-theft industry,” said Detective Jeff McKercher in a YouTube clip posted by the YRP yesterday (Dec. 2). “It’s these tagging devices using GPS and Bluetooth technology, and they’re using that to install on different vehicles that they’re looking to steal.”

After That car thieves use the AirTag to track the car to the owner’s home and steal the car from the driveway. They get into the car using screwdrivers or other tools, plug a mechanic’s automated tool into the car’s on-board diagnostics port to change the key settings, and take the car away.

“By using an iPhone, they can always tell where the vehicle’s location is,” McKercher added. “They can almost wait and commit their theft on their watch, maybe later on in the night, and it always gives them the location of where that vehicle is being stored at the time.”

McKercher said that Lexus, Toyota, and Honda crossover SUVs currently appeared to be the most popular for car thieves in the Toronto suburbs, along with the continually popular Ford F-Series trucks.

The YRP never uses the word “Apple” in the public service announcement and two related YouTube clips that were posted yesterday (Dec. 2). But the images and language make it pretty clear exactly what kind of devices they’re talking about.

“Car thieves are thinking differently,” begins the other YouTube clip, which almost looks like an Apple promotional video. “Typically, thieves roam residential neighborhoods (sic) looking for specific models of vehicles. Now they are roaming parking lots and leaving a tracking device called an AirTag on target vehicles. Thieves then track the vehicle using the AirTag and steal it at a later time.”

An AirTag will begin to sound if it’s been separated from its paired iPhone for between 8 and 24 hours. That still gives car thieves lots of time and the chirps might not be loud enough over the noise from a car’s engine.

Your iPhone is thought to be able to alert you when a “mystery” AirTag not paired to your iPhone comes home with you. But that doesn’t always work, and many people who don’t have iPhones won’t get those important alerts.

 

AirTags can help you find stolen cars, too

Car owners can also use AirTags to retrieve stolen vehicles. FoxNews.com‘s Gary Gastelu ran experiments over the summer and found that AirTags were just as useful at finding lost vehicles as car-tracking gadgets that can cost hundreds of dollars to invest or come with subscription fees. A single AirTag costs $29, and a pack of four costs $99.

 

How to reduce your risk of car theft with AirTag

The York Regional Police in Ontario, offered these tips to car owners:
  • Park your car in your garage if you have one, not in the driveway
  • If you don’t have a garage, then park the car as close to your house as possible
  • Use a third-party steering-wheel lock
  • Put a third-party lock on the OBD-II data port
  • Check your vehicle regularly for tracking devices

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