GPS, which stands for "global positioning satellite," is a type of device that is used for tracking. It is mostly used to track a vehicle or to track an individual through a cell phone. Many newer-model cars have GPS devices installed in them to help drivers reach their destination using the shortest route. A GPS tracking device can be placed in your car without your knowledge. If you think that someone has placed a tracking device on your vehicle, you can use several methods to detect the device.
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Park your vehicle in an area with plenty of light. Turn the car off and use a flashlight to examine the exterior of the vehicle thoroughly. Check inside your bumpers and underneath the vehicle. Check the tires, under the hood and in the trunk for anything that looks unfamiliar. Be on the lookout especially for any electronic device in a rectangular plastic or metal casing. Most tracking devices are small, and the outer case is often black or gray.
Check inside the vehicle, shining the flashlight into dark areas where you normally would not look. Reach down into the seat and between the seats, feeling for an unfamiliar object. Check the glove compartments and any other area where an object might be concealed. A cell phone can also be used as a GPS tracker, so if you find an unfamiliar cell phone in your vehicle, remove it.
Purchase a radio frequency detector. The detector will pick up any radio frequencies in the area. A GPS tracker typically broadcasts radio signals and the detector can confirm that a GPS tracker is hidden in your car. As of 2010, radio frequency detectors cost between $150 and $500, depending on the brand, features and where you purchase the device.
Turn the radio frequency detector on and move slowly around the vehicle. If any radio signals are sensed, the detector will beep or display a flashing light. Signals can be detected up to 30 feet away. When you are finished searching your vehicle, remove the batteries from the device so that others will not be able to detect it.