Apple AirTags used by Canadian car thieves to target high-end vehicles

An Apple AirTag being used to track a vehicle
Owners are being told to inspect their cars regularly for such devices. Photo credit: York Regional Police

Canadian police have warned car owners that thieves are using Apple's AirTags to track high-end vehicles so they can be stolen at a later date.

Officers from the York Regional Police theft unit said they had investigated five incidents over the last three months.

"Brand name 'air tags' are placed in out-of-sight areas of the target vehicles when they are parked in public places like malls or parking lots," the police said in a statement.

"Thieves then track the targeted vehicles to the victim’s residence, where they are stolen from the driveway."

They are now telling owners to inspect their cars regularly and to call police if any suspicious tracking devices are found.

The warning comes as more than 2000 vehicles in the region were stolen in the last year, with only around 350 recovered.

Apple introduced the AirTags earlier this year as a way for users to keep a track of their belongings.

Shortly after launch the company updated them after privacy concerns around being able to track someone without their consent.

Initially they would make a noise after three days of separation from their owner, but that was changed to a random time interval between eight and 24 hours.

AirTags have also been used to show the illegal dumping of homeless people's belongings in the US.

A Portland lawyer attached 16 tags to gloves, a speaker, a French press and more in a bid to find out what would happen to his clients' belongings when the camp they were staying in was cleared.

The signal showed they all ended up at a local waste transfer station, in breach of an Oregan law which states they city had to retain all property that is "recognisable as belonging to a person and that has apparent use" when clearing out homeless campsites.

The city was already facing a class-action lawsuit after four other homeless individuals alleged contractors illegally discarded their belongings.