Warning as household tracking devices are revealed as latest car theft aid

Warning as household tracking devices are revealed as latest car theft aid
A consumer product that can be stuck on everyday items to keep track of them has emerged as the latest tool of unscrupulous car thieves in Canada.

Police in York, Ontario have recorded at least five incidents in recent weeks where such devices have been used to follow the location of people’s cars, rather than locate a missing household item.

Thieves target cars in public spaces and parking lots by hiding the relatively cheap technology next to fuel caps, behind tow hitches and under bumpers of vehicles.

They then use their phone ­– linked up to the technology – to track the car to the driver’s home. Once they know the location, they plan a time to steal the car keys from the owner’s house, before taking the vehicle.

York Regional Police have reported a rise in these targeted thefts and have warned the method could soon become more widespread.

The devices are intended to be attached to items like keys, backpacks and purses, to provide a helpful solution if someone can’t find what they need. Small and circular, they connect via Bluetooth to a compatible phone, tablet or third-party device, where its location and directions show up on a map.

The York Regional Police department has suggested measures such as parking cars in garages rather than driveways, and using steering wheel locks, in a bid to prevent further thefts.

Security measures have been rolled out by the likes of Apple, including notifying iPhone users that the tracking device is on their vehicle where possible, and if not, setting off an alarm 8-12 hours after it has been in the vehicle.

If a device is found on a vehicle, owners are advised to alert the police.

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