Muscle Car Owner Targeted With Hidden AirTag Placed by Thieves
Michigan resident John Nelson claims that he was recently targeted by car thieves who hid one of Apple's AirTags in his vehicle, a 2018 Dodge Charger.
According to a Fox 2 Detroit report, Nelson visited the Great Lakes Crossing shopping center in Auburn Hills, where he spent about two hours. After departing, he got a notification on his phone that informed him he was being tracked by an unknown AirTag.
Nelson was able to tap on the notification, and his iPhone provided him with the option to play a sound on the AirTag, which is one of the safety features that Apple has made available in addition to the tracking notifications. Following the sound the AirTag emitted, Nelson found it under the drain cap in the trunk of his car, which had required the thieves to unscrew the cap and place it inside.
The thieves were likely going to scrap the vehicle for parts, according to Nelson. A Michigan auto theft task force in Detroit told Fox 2 that they're seeing an uptick in "cases like these" in the Metro Detroit area. Thieves track the target vehicle with an AirTag and then wait for the ideal time to steal it. Dodge cars like Nelson's are reportedly a popular target.
Nelson turned the AirTag over to the police, but he says that he is paranoid that something similar could happen again.
Earlier this month, Canadian police released a report suggesting AirTags are being used in an increasing number of car thefts in Canada. Officers in the York Region said that there have been five incidents where thieves used AirTags to target high-end vehicles since September 2021.
To prevent situations like Nelson's, Apple has introduced anti-tracking features that alert users if an unknown AirTag is nearby. These alerts used to be limited to iPhone users, but alongside iOS 15.2, Apple released a "Tracker Detect" app for Android users that lets them scan for nearby AirTags.
Both Android and iPhone users can locate nearby AirTags, and can play a sound to locate them, plus there's a feature that causes them to automatically emit a sound after a short period of time. Tracker Detect and the Find My app both offer instructions on how to disable a rogue AirTag to prevent it from being used for tracking purposes, which is done by removing the battery.
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