Wednesday January 27, 2016

Why do phone finder apps keep sending strangers to this couple's home?

A couple from Georgia say strangers keep showing up on their doorstep looking for their lost cell phones.

A couple from Georgia say strangers keep showing up on their doorstep looking for their lost cell phones.

Listen 6:53

Since Christina Lee and her partner moved into their home in Atlanta, Georgia last year, about two dozen people have shown up looking for their phones - including police officers searching for a missing child.

'There's definitely a little bit of fear as to what could potentially happen if someone not as understanding was to come by' - Christina Lee

"We've had maybe 12 to 14 instances of people come [to our house] based on these 'find my cell phone' apps and in total 25 people." Christina Lee tells As It Happens host Carol Off.  

Once the police showed up at their home after an app indicated a missing child's phone was inside their house. Lee says the police officer had them wait outside their home, after they were told, "This is a crime scene."  

They waited outside their home past midnight until the parents refreshed the app, showing the missing girl's cell phone was not in Lee's house after all.

"There's definitely a little bit of fear as to what could potentially happen if someone not as understanding was to come by," Lee adds.

cell phone house

Find my cellphone apps lead people to this house, but their phones are never there. (Christina Lee)

Lee suspects the culprit might be the three cell phone towers near her home, "We've had it happen with all different types of carriers, all different types of phones and as far as we can tell, different types of apps."

Cell phone carriers are unable to explain to Lee why this keep happening.

"The problem is more often than not these cell phone towers are operated by contractors and the carriers say there's nothing we can do," Lee says.

Lee is filing a complaint with her senator and the FCC to try make the visits from strangers and the police stop.