Everyone loses things…
Whether it’s your wallet or your keys, chances are you’ve lost or misplaced something.
This is why small tracking devices such as Apple’s AirTags have become so popular.
These little devices connect to Bluetooth to let the owner know their location.
But these devices also create a new weapon for criminals.
In Canada, car thieves have been using devices like Apple AirTags to steal high-end cars.
The criminals are putting the tracking devices on vehicles that they spot in parking lots.
The thieves then track the location as the driver goes to their house.
Next, they wait until no one is around and steal the vehicle.
Thieves use tools like screwdrivers to enter the vehicles. Once inside, an electronic device is used to reprogram the factory settings of the car.
The software allows the thieves to program the vehicle to accept a key they brought with them.
Once the new key is programmed, the vehicle will start and the criminals drive it away.
Obviously, these types of tracking devices are intended to help people track things such as luggage.
But police in Canada’s York Region have investigated multiple incidents where car thieves used tracking devices to steal cars.
Over the past year, over 2,000 vehicles have been stolen in Canada’s York Region, but only about 350 vehicles have been recovered.
About 100 arrests have been made related to the thefts.
So, how do you stop these trackers?
Think like a criminal:
If you think someone might be using a tracking device to follow you, then you need to think like a criminal.
Ask yourself where you would hide a tracking device if you were going to follow yourself.
Do you always carry a specific bag?
Do you have a backpack that you take everywhere?
Reflect on your habits and norms, and think about where they could hide the tracker.
Look in things that you take everywhere, like your bags, pockets, and even your water bottle.
Remember, these tracking devices can be very small, so look carefully.
Change up your habits:
If you suspect that someone is following you, change up your habits.
Next time you go to the store take a taxi cab, or other mode of transportation, instead of your car.
The idea is to eliminate potential hiding spots where the person could be hiding the device.
Reduce the number of personal belongings you take with you.
That could be as simple as using a different bag when you go out, or taking a bus instead of your car.
This would help narrow down where the tracker might be.
Use a Bluetooth scanner:
There are smartphone apps such as Bluetooth Scanner and Bluetooth Inspector. They can search for nearby Bluetooth signals.
These apps won’t be able to tell you the device or exact location, but they will at least alert you to a nearby Bluetooth signal.
By moving around with your phone you change the signal strength, which could give you an idea of where the signal is coming from.
Keep in mind that you could be picking up signals from other Bluetooth devices, such as something else in your home, or your neighbor’s depending on how close you are.
Even if you do find a signal, you won’t be able to immediately identify if it’s a tracking device or a pair of headphones.
But you should be able to narrow down the location.
If it’s in your house, and you don’t know what it is, start looking for a tracking device.
If you ever find a tracking device immediately contact the police.
The best way to stop the device from tracking you is to remove the battery.
But be aware that this will alert the person who owns the device that it has stopped working.
If you think you have a stalker, or are being tracked, you might be better off waiting for police to arrive before you disable the device.