Once again, technology marketed to us as an improvement to our lives is being bent to nefarious ends.
Today it's Apple AirTags, quarter-size devices meant to help track down easily lost objects like keys and wallets. However, criminals use the $30 devices to stalk people or locate cars they might later steal. The Dearborn Police Department on Friday posted a five-minute video warning of the AirTags' criminal applications.
A high-profile case emerged recently in New York City, where a model claimed a stranger slipped one into her coat pocket while she visited a restaurant, and used it to follow her for five hours. A Novi man found one secured to the undercarriage of his Dodge Charger in December.
In both cases, the unsuspecting parties received phone alerts that they were being tracked, but not before significant time had passed.
Dearborn Police said they've found the quarter-sized devices behind license plates, between car seats and in purses, among other places.
(Tom Holt, cybersecurity expert and professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University) said that not everyone will be the victim of a crime using the trackers. He noted that those who have expensive cars and belongings are more at-risk of left, especially if it's noticeable to passersby.
"The high-end luxury car or something that is an overt symbol or an item that somebody would want, then that may increase the potential for someone to put one of those devices on your object for the sake of theft," he said.
Anyone who finds an AirTag among their belongings should alert law enforcement.