Carjackers are using this new Apple product to steal vehicles



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.

airtags canada car theft
The $29 Apple AirTag is designed to help users keep track of their goods, while police warn they may also be a handy tool for car thieves.
Courtesy of York Regional Police

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.

airtags canada car theft
Thieves can use Apple AirTags to track the car back to the owner’s driveway, and steal it from the victim’s home.
Courtesy of York Regional Police
airtags canada car theft
York Regional Police have investigated five incidents of car theft involving AirTags since September.
Courtesy of York Regional Police

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.

airtags canada car theft
After tracking the car back to the owner’s residence, hacking thieves then reprogram the ignition with a specialized device often used by mechanics.
Courtesy of York Regional Police

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.

security footage of car being stolen
Apple AirTags are meant to be used to keep track of frequently misplaced possessions.
Courtesy of York Regional Police

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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