Following a number of reports of Apple’s AirTag tracking device being used by stalkers and thieves, rival tracking company Tile has introduced a new anti-stalking feature.

Criminals are using Apple AirTag tracking devices to aid in the theft of vehicles. Suspects were reportedly placing the AirTags in “out of sight” areas of cars such as the inside of gas caps or various other crevices. After following their targets home, the criminals are reportedly able to hack the ignition of the vehicles with an electronic device “typically used by mechanics to reprogram the factory setting” before stealing the car from the driveway of its owner.

People walk inside an Apple store in Beijing on October 19, 2020. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP) (Photo by GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

People walk inside an Apple store in Beijing on October 19, 2020. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP) (Photo by GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

It was later reported that criminals were continuing to use the devices for various other crimes. One woman was alerted via her iPhone that an AirTag was “Found moving with you.” The woman, worried to go home for fear of someone tracking her, stayed somewhere else for the night before having someone search her car. An Apple AirTag was found attached inside a wheel well.

Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy group based in San Francisco, commented on the situation stating: “I don’t think there’s any question that Apple’s AirTags are being used for stalking.”

9to5Mac now reports that following these controversies, tracking device company Tile has introduced a new Scan and Secure feature that allows anyone to check for the presence of a Tile tracker nearby. In a blog post, Tile states:

If you ever feel concerned that someone could be tracking you, we now offer a feature that allows you to determine if that tracking could be through a Tile product. Scan and Secure, which starts rolling out this week to anyone with the Tile app (even if you do not have a Tile account), will enable you to scan for unknown Tiles or Tile-enabled devices that may be traveling with you.

However, it appears that this feature is slightly less effective than Apple’s recent feature allowing users to detect nearby AirTags. TechCrunch highlighted the issue, stating:

The scan process doesn’t offer a precision finding tool that will allow people to locate a Tile device that’s close to them. Instead, Tile notes that users will have to walk or even drive a certain distance away from their original location to work. The full scan can take up to 10 minutes of uninterrupted time to complete and deliver the most accurate results, Tile says. It won’t work if you’re just walking around in your home or in a crowded place, like on public transportation, where it could detect other Tiles nearby.

Apple in comparison has introduced two features, one which automatically alerts users if an unknown AirTag is moving with them and another that will cause an AirTag to emit a sound if it is separated from its owner after a significant period of time.

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