Warning! Car Thieves Can Use Apple AirTags to Track and Steal Cars

The Apple AirTag is a handy little device that can help you find your lost keys, purse, or other personal belongings, but now, car thieves can use it to track your car. The York Region police in Ontario, Canada, has recently found out that thieves are using AirTags to track and steal high-end cars in the area. Here is what they are doing and what you can do to protect yourself.

What are car thieves doing with the Apple AirTag devices?

 A keyring containing an AirTag attached to a rucksack inside the Apple Store George Street.
A keyring containing an AirTag is attached to a rucksack inside the Apple Store George Street. | James D. Morgan/Getty Images

It has been reported that car thieves in the York Region have been targeting cars and placing Apple AirTags in them in order to track and steal them later. Thieves will typically target cars that are parked at a shopping mall and other public lots and place the AirTags in out-of-sight places on the car.

According to the York Regional Police, the car thieves will then track the car and then use a  screwdriver to enter the car by gently prying open the passenger or driver side door. Once inside the car, the thief will then connect a computer device to the car’s onboard diagnostic port in order to program a blank key that they have with them. Upon programming the key, the car thief is then able to drive away with the car.

The York Regional Police reported: “Since September 2021, officers have investigated five incidents where suspects have placed small tracking devices on high-end vehicles, so they can later locate and steal them.” 

Are thieves targeting cars in the U.S.?

A boxed AirTag is on display at the Apple Store on George Street.
A boxed AirTag is on display at the Apple Store on George Street. | James D. Morgan/Getty Images

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Fox 5 News in Atlanta, GA, reported that an Atlanta Police Officer found an AirTag near the gas tank of a car. According to the report, the officer received a notification on her iPhone that an AirTag was with her from the time that she drove from the store to her home.

Fortunately, an Apple AirTag knows if it is following someone other than the original owner of the tag. The AirTag will then send out an audible alert or, if you have a newer iPhone, the AirTag send you a message to alert you that a tag is nearby.

What can drivers do to protect themselves?

 A general view shows Apple Inc. AirTag during the official opening of the new Apple Store Via Del Corso.
A general view shows Apple Inc. AirTag during the official opening of the new Apple Store Via Del Corso. | Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

If you’re worried that your car could be targeted by car thieves in this manner, then there are a few precautions that you can take to improve your car’s safety:

  • Park your car in a locked garage, if possible
  • Use a steering wheel lock to deter would-be thieves
  • Install a data port lock on your car’s on-board diagnostic port
  • Use a video surveillance system to monitor the car
  • Inspect your vehicle regularly when you return to it in a public place

If you discover that an AirTag is moving with you, then you should look for it and find it. After locating it, be sure to contact your local law enforcement to report it. Theoretically, you can also use an Apple AirTag to locate a stolen car, so placing your own tag in your car may assist you in finding the car if it was indeed stolen by a car thief.

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