This lost item-finding tech is also being used for more nefarious purposes.
The $29 AirTag devices that Apple released in April to help users keep track of belongings are being repurposed by crooks to steal cars, according to a police report out of Ontario, Canada.
Investigators with the York Regional Police Auto and Cargo Theft Unit in Aurora are warning area residents that they’ve “identified a new method being used by thieves to track and steal high-end vehicles” across the region, the department warned in a Thursday blog post.
Officers reported they’ve looked into five incidents since September in which suspects used the unassuming tracking technology to commit grand theft auto.
The suspects go about the crime by placing the easily missed tracking devices on the luxury rides in “out-of-sight areas” while they’re parked in “public places like malls or parking lots.” Then, once the unsuspecting owner has driven the car home, the thieves track the vehicle to the victim’s residence.
Criminals are able to hack the vehicle’s ignition with an electronic device “typically used by mechanics to reprogram the factory setting” before driving off from the victim’s driveway in their own car.
As a preventive measure, law enforcement advises car owners to park “in a locked garage,” if they have one, as most vehicles thus far have been stolen directly from victims’ driveways. Installing locks on the steering wheel and data port are also recommended, as is installing a video surveillance system, cops write.
York Regional Police added that they’ve seen more than 2,000 car thefts during the past 12 months.
Meanwhile, AirTags stateside have been used for the reverse reason: to hunt down stolen vehicles. In August, Brooklyn cybersecurity CEO Dan Guido detailed his epic relocation of a stolen scooter on Twitter. Thanks to two AirTags Guido had hidden on the vehicle with black duct tape, he was able to locate it soon after it was stolen.
Apple declined The Post’s request for comment.
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