A tracking warning alerted the driver of a recently-bought used truck of a hidden AirTag, preventing an expected theft before it could happen.
A warning for one of Apple’s AirTags, a personal tracker that allows users to track their belongings, revealed the coin-sized puck was planted in a truck thieves planned to steal. AirTags have been used for all sorts of tasks outside of the company’s recommended use case. People have used the tracking devices in everything from locating a stolen car to actually stealing cars by tracking their location. That’s far outside the vision Apple had for the product: the company says AirTags are meant to retrieve lost — not stolen — items. To make matters worse, people are even using the compact trackers to stalk people without their knowledge. With all of these nefarious use cases for the AirTag becoming more prominent, it’s easy to wonder whether the benefits outweigh the potential harm that could come from such an accurate, compact tracker.
The company wasn’t exactly surprised at these potential uses for the trackers. From day one, Apple added notifications that would alert people if an AirTag was detected as moving with them for a period of time. After concerns about the length of time it would take to alert a potential stalking victim, the company updated its software to shorten the time before a warning is presented. These concerns became so widespread that Apple actually made a detection app for Android phones that identifies unknown AirTags. If an AirTag is identified, users have the option to activate the speaker, view the serial number, and view instructions on how to disable the tracker (by removing the coin-cell battery).
It turns out that these alerts — that may be frustrating to family and friends of AirTag owners — really can prevent criminal activity. FOX 7 recently reported how a man in Austin, Texas was alerted that he was being tracked. After alerting the Fayette County Sheriff’s office, deputies discovered a tracker wedged between the passenger seat and the center console of the man’s truck. According to deputies, it’s becoming common even in rural areas of Texas for law enforcement to be called to search for a hidden tracking device.
AirTag Key To Stolen Vehicle Scam
It turns out that the AirTag was key to a stolen vehicle scam, where vehicles are stolen, sold, and re-stolen again. The man had purchased the truck just hours earlier, which was as a stolen vehicle in Harris County, with a down-payment of $800. Investigators suspect that there was a “double steal” plan in place with the sale of the truck. With an AirTag hidden inside the vehicle — and presumably a duplicate key that could be used to unlock and start the truck — the suspects could repossess the stolen vehicle at any time.
Though the stolen truck was returned to its original owner, it isn’t quite a happy ending. The man who unknowingly purchased the stolen vehicle is without the $800 down payment and authorities have not identified any potential suspects. That means everyday people have yet another safety concern to worry about regarding AirTags. If stalking and potential theft weren’t scary enough, people now have to consider having their items and their hard-earned money stolen by thieves. Further raising the question of whether AirTags are really worth the risk?
Next: How Far Does An AirTag Reach? Distance & Range Explained
Source: FOX 7
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