Thieves are trying to fill orders for certain cars; their success depends on an Apple device

Thieves are trying to fill orders for certain cars; their success depends on an Apple device

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According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the country has a problem with car thefts. In 2022, the bureau reported that 105,000 cars were stolen in the country. And that number might have risen last year and could continue higher this year thanks in part to the Apple Air Tag. The small round item tracker has become a tool of choice for auto thieves looking to fill requests to deliver certain cars.
We first noticed how Air Tag units were being used in Canada to steal cars back in 2021 when they were placed on high-end vehicles by criminals who would use their iPhones to locate these cars late at night and steal them. And now it seems that criminals in Montreal are using AirTag item trackers to locate certain vehicles that are in demand by car thieves either for parts or to turn around and sell.
AppleInsider published the story about Ethan Yang who was driving back home to Massachusetts after visiting family in Montreal when he received a notification on his iPhone. He discovered that someone had attached an AirTag to his car and was tracking him. He used his iPhone to make the AirTag beep and discovered that the item tracker was placed in the front grill of his car. Criminals are also placing AirTag units in other locations such as under a car’s windshield wipers or inside a targeted vehicle.

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In Burlington, Vermont, cops there say that they have had two reports this month of travelers finding trackers in their cars. Ryan McLiverty, a cyber analyst with the Vermont Intelligence Center, said, “They could be identifying vehicles that could be stolen and shipped abroad as part of a car theft ring.” And these days, a stolen car could end up in a very distant country such as Russia and Africa.

You’d think that putting an AirTag inside a vehicle would make a stolen vehicle easier to recover, but that isn’t always the case. A man in Toronto had his car stolen for the second time and the AirTag he placed inside couldn’t help the police get his property back. But the tracker did allow the car’s owner to watch his vehicle get shipped to Dubai. 

Placing an AirTag inside a car, like the Toronto-based victim we just discussed did, can often help a stolen car get recovered. It didn’t work for the guy whose car ended up in Dubai, but it might work for you. However, Apple and law enforcement do agree on one thing. If you can track the whereabouts of your stolen car, do not under any circumstances try to get it back by approaching the thieves yourself or even with friends. In this scenario, you should always call the police and explain the situation to them first.

McLiverty says, “Criminals are increasingly using technology to target individuals, and sometimes just knowing the basic security features of these devices can go a long way.” He adds that if you do come across an AirTag that you have found placed inside or outside your car, turn it over to police right away.

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