TECH

In Canada, car thieves use AirTags to track victims' vehicles

AirTag on the bag

A complex network of car thefts in Canada that often involves the theft and transportation of expensive cars and SUVs across country. The world just got scarier thanks to AirTag.

Canada is currently experiencing an epidemic of auto thefts. The Insurance Bureau of Canada reports that more than 105,000 vehicles were stolen across Canada in 2022 alone. Now it appears car theft gangs have introduced a new tool to select cars to steal: Apple AirTags.

Ethan Young, a Massachusetts man, was returning home from visiting his family in Montreal when he received an alert on his phone. Upon checking, he discovered that someone had attached an AirTag to his car without his knowledge and was secretly tracking his movements.

“As I was returning home and about to cross the border, my phone alerted me to the presence of a tracking device. By the time I realized this, I confirmed it using my phone, which was capable of beeping the AirTag “,” Yang told WCAX. The device was located in the front grille of his car.

And Yang isn't the only one. In Burlington, Vermont, police received two more reports of travelers finding GPS devices in March. tracking in their cars.

“They were able to identify vehicles that might have been stolen and shipped overseas as part of a car theft ring,” Ryan McLiverty, a cyber analyst with the Vermont Intelligence Center, told WCAX.

While car theft has been a growing problem for some time, there is now a new surge in criminals in Montreal using technology to track cars, steal them and sell them.

It can be scary to be tracked without your consent, but if you discover or receive an alert about an unknown AirTag, you can take steps to protect yourself.

In January, a Toronto resident's car was stolen for the second time, and although the Apple AirTag inside didn't help get it back — and the police too — he had to track it all the way to Dubai.

In November, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser launched a program offering AirTags to residents in areas prone to car theft, using Apple's Find My technology to help locate stolen vehicles.

Victims of vehicle theft may be tempted to use AirTag to track the stolen vehicle to the thief's location and confront him. However, Apple, AppleInsider and many law enforcement agencies do not recommend this. Instead, victims should report the crime to the police as soon as possible.

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