Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

Car thieves in Canada are using AirTags to track victims' vehicles

AirTag on a bag

Canada's complex car theft ring, which often involves stealing and shipping expensive cars and SUVs around the world, just got even creepier thanks to AirTag.

Canada is currently dealing with an auto theft epidemic. The Insurance Bureau of Canada says that in 2022 alone, more than 105,000 vehicles were stolen across Canada. Now, it seems that auto theft rings have implemented a new tool for choosing cars to steal: Apple's AirTags.

Ethan Yang, a man from Massachusetts, was driving back home after visiting his family in Montreal when he received an alert on his phone. Upon checking, he discovered that someone had attached an AirTag to his car without his knowledge and was secretly tracking his movements.

"When I was on my way back, I was about to cross the border, my phone alerted me that there was a tracking device. By the time I realized it, I confirmed it with my phone that was able to make the AirTag beep," Yang told WCAX. The device was located in the front grill of his vehicle.

And Yang isn't the only one, either. In Burlington, Vermont, police have had two other reports of travelers discovering GPS tracking devices in their vehicles in March.

"They could be identifying vehicles that could be stolen and shipped abroad as part of a car theft ring," Ryan McLiverty, a cyber analyst with the Vermont Intelligence Center, told WCAX.

While car theft has been a growing issue for a while, there's now a new spike where criminals in Montreal use technology to track cars, steal them, and sell them.

It can be scary to be tracked without your consent, but if you find or are alerted about an unknown AirTag, there are steps you can take to keep yourself safe.

In January, a Toronto man had his vehicle stolen for a second time and while Apple's AirTag inside didn't help recover it — and neither did the police — he got to track it all the way to Dubai.

In November, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser launched a program offering AirTags to residents in car theft-prone neighborhoods, using Apple's Find My technology to help locate stolen vehicles.

Victims of vehicle theft may be tempted to use an AirTag to track their stolen car to the thief's location and confront them. However, it is not recommended by Apple, AppleInsider, and many law enforcement agencies. Instead, victims should report the crime to the police as soon as possible.