A young couple living in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, is in an infuriating and potentially dangerous situation.
For months now, angry people have been showing up at Michael Saba and Christina Lee’s doorstep looking for their lost or stolen smartphones. Sometimes, it is just one frantic person banging at their door in the middle of the night, but other times, there are families or groups of friends who turn up with a police officer in tow, inquiring about their missing loved ones.
The thing is, Lee and Saba aren't involved in a cell phone stealing ring. In fact, what the couple desperately tries to explain to visitors is that the missing phones have never been at their house at any point in time.
So why do people keep turning up at this random Atlanta house?
Apparently, the people who come knocking at Lee and Saba’s house are using standard GPS phone tracking features. For some mysterious reason, every time someone in the vicinity tries to track down their phone, the GPS misdirects them towards this particular residence.
“My biggest fear is that someone dangerous or violent is going to visit our house because of this. If or when that happens, I doubt our polite explanations are gonna go very far,” Saba explained, adding that most people leave after a polite explanation, but sometimes strangers are reluctant to believe them.
As Fusion reports, the missing phones don’t seem to have anything in common.
“Some are iPhones. Some are Androids,” author Kashmir Hill stated. “They’re on different carriers: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Boost Mobile. Saba and Lee don’t know who can fix it because there’s no obvious guilty party. They filed a complaint with the local police department but that hasn’t helped.”
Recommended: The 8 Apps You Need To Make Life A Lot Easier
Since February 2015, more than a dozen livid strangers have visited the couple. Last year in June, they were even involved in a police investigation of a missing girl whose phone showed her located at their address.
Their entire situation is frustrating to say the least, since not even telecommunication experts have been able to figure out the technological glitch that has pinpointed their home as a hot bed for missing phones. However, there are a few theories floating around.
For instance, professor Alan Woodward, a cyber security expert from Surrey University, told BBC that trackers rely on GPS. In case of its absence, the trackers then rely on “triangulation” — a less accurate process of determining location.
“All triangulation does is draw a line equidistant between three cell towers and if your house is on that line you'll get visits,” Woodward said. “I don't have enough data to know exactly what's going on but I wouldn't be at all surprised [if it was a triangulation error].”
The house belonged to Lee’s parents, so moving out is not an option for the couple. However, they are planning to file a complaint with the FCC and their senator.
“Public pressure is how stuff like this changes,” Saba added. “It sucks that it happens to us, but I hope our experience will lead to it not happening to anyone else.”