For the past year, a couple in Atlanta have been on the receiving end of numerous angry visitors to their door demanding they hand over their lost and stolen mobile phone. For a mysterious reason, Find My iPhone apps are directing people straight to the home of Christina Lee and Michael Saba and it is causing confusion and chaos all round.
Since February 2015, the innocent couple have received knocks at the door (in one month, it happened four times) from people claiming they had tracked their lost iPhone to their location. Some would come accompanied by police and some refused to believe they were telling the truth.
On one occasion, the police arrived at their house searching for a teenage girl whose parents reported her missing. The couple were forced to wait outside for more than an hour while authorities searched the inside of their home for the girl's phone, and presumably the girl.
The bewildered couple fear one day someone dangerous or violent might come knocking and things could escalate out of their control.
So why is this happening?
Well, no one really knows. There does not appear to be any common link to nail down a reason. Some phones will be Apple, some will be Android – all on a number of different mobile carriers. Despite contacting police about the issue that has gone well beyond a comical misunderstanding, they have been unable to do anything to help.
When mobile network providers, Apple and makers of Android mobiles were contacted for an answer but have received nothing in reply. The Federal Communications Commission, which are regulators of wireless communication was also unable to provide any constructive response.
Fusion reports that the problem may lie in a flaw in mobile tower triangulation, which phone-tracking apps utilise, according to a security analyst. Others have pointed towards a fault in the couple's Wi-Fi router or possibly a problem with the Wi-Fi mapping these apps rely on.
"It's possible the apps all rely on the same Wi-Fi mapping data – maybe all licensed from the same company – and that the company could have had bad data in the database, either someone using the same MAC address at a different location or just bad GPS data," Fusion reports.
The couple continue to be subject to callers convinced their lost mobiles lie within their home having two incidents already since 2016, and without much light on resolving the issue they might want to start using some find-me-a-new-home apps instead.