'Find My Phone' Apps Send People to the Same U.S. Home

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A software glitch keeps sending ‘find my phone’ app users to the same house in Atlanta. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

An Atlanta couple have been receiving angry visitors to their house for the past year because faulty phone-tracking apps keep telling people their missing devices are located at their address.

The 'find my phone' apps, available on both Android and iOS devices, have directed people to the home of Christina Lee and Michael Saba more than a dozen times since they moved there in February 2015, according to reports.

Most of the visitors, who are often accompanied by police officers, accept the couple's explanation that they haven't, in fact, stolen any phones but that the misdirection is the result of a technical glitch. However around a quarter reportedly remain suspicious, insisting that the technology is reliable.

"My biggest fear is that someone dangerous or violent is going to visit our house because of this," Saba told Fusion. "If or when that happens, I doubt our polite explanations are gonna go very far."

Lee and Saba have had no help from any of the government agencies they've contacted and are planning to file a complaint with their local senator and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in an attempt to get the issue resolved.

"Public pressure is how stuff like this changes," Saba said. "It sucks that it happens to us, but I hope our experience will lead to it not happening to anyone else."

iPhone forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski suggested that all the 'find my phone' apps rely on the same Wi-Fi mapping data, provided by a company that "could have had bad data in the database, either someone using the same MAC address [network] at a different location or just bad GPS data… There are probably a lot of things that could go wrong here, but I'd have to have the phone to actually figure it out."