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GPS trackers are a ubiquitous technology now, from hardwired car tracking systems to Apple AirTags. However, as helpful as trackers can be for staying on top of your property or recovering a stolen vehicle, criminals can use them for malice. Here are a few ways to stay ahead of felonious actors and their gadgets, like using a GPS bug detector. 

How can you avoid being GPS tracked?

While you might not be able to stop someone from trying to track your car, you can make yourself difficult to track.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings and vehicles following you
  • Use Apple’s AirTag push notification system to monitor malicious AirTags
  • Check common tracker locations on your vehicle
  • Invest in a countermeasure like a GPS tracker detector
A Nano GPS tracker like this one or an Apple AirTag could possibly reveal itself to a bug detector.
Nano tracker | Britta Pedersen, picture alliance via Getty Images

GPS trackers can be tiny, so finding them with touch or the naked eye could be difficult. Still, there are some common locations on a vehicle where criminals could place a device, like the inside surface of your wheel well. Moreover, some manufacturers, like Apple, have safeguards in place to help you stay aware of devices like the AirTag. Of course, investing in a bug detector is the most effective way to locate trackers. 

Be aware of surroundings and vehicles following you

First and foremost, it’s essential to pay attention to your surroundings. Take note of cars that are following you, especially during unorthodox maneuvers. Furthermore, if you see someone tamper with or plant something in or on your vehicle, notify the police immediately.

Moreover, changing your habits and standard routes can make you more difficult to track and predict. Of course, any driver who suspects a malicious party is following them should report it to the local authorities.

Will your phone notify you if an AirTag is near?

An AirTag “separated from its owner moving with you over time” will trigger a notification on your iPhone. According to Apple’s support pages, owners can also download a Tracker Detect app to locate an unwanted AirTag or Find My accessory on your person or vehicle.

Android users can also download the Tracker Detect app to detect AirTags. However, unlike iPhone users, Apple will not send them push notifications. 

Where are trackers usually put on cars?

Depending on your vehicle type, a GPS tracker could hide in many places away from view. According to GPS Technologies, these are a few of the most common locations for a tracker.

  • Underneath your vehicle
  • Wheel wells
  • Bumpers
  • Sunroof pinch points
  • Under the dash, hood, or trunk lid

Unfortunately, some trackers use cases with powerful magnets to adhere to metallic surfaces. As a result, planting a tracker can be as easy as reaching above the side wall of your tire and placing it against the wall of your wheel well. 

How do you detect a GPS-tracking device?

While it’s not necessary for most people, the most reliable way to ensure your car is GPS tracker-free is to use a bug detector. A detector, when used in a slow, comprehensive search, could alert you to the location of a tracker, per SpyCentre Security.

A man pairs a GPS tracker with a smartphone and bug detector app next to a car.
A man pairs a tracker with a smartphone next to his Aston Martin | Joseph Branston, T3 Magazine via Future via Getty Images

Still, bug detectors aren’t perfect; pair a detector with a visual search if you suspect a device. If you find a portable or hard-wired tracker on your vehicle, notify the authorities.