EXPERTS warn that Apple AirTags are being used as a stalking tool after one victim was 'trailed home' by one.
A police report emerged in Providence late last week detailing a victim who was followed home via an unidentified Apple AirTag.
AirTags are an iOS device meant to keep track of keys and other personal items via Bluetooth.
As of late, however, there have been several reports that stalkers have been sticking the tracking devices onto unsuspecting car-owners to follow them home.
The most recent report came from an unidentified victim, who discovered an Apple AirTag was attached to their car while they were at the Movie Tavern in Providence, Rhode Island.
The victim claimed they received a text message on their Apple device with the message: “Unknown Accessory Detected – This Item Has Been Moving With You For A While”.
After the victim entered their home, their phone received an additional message that read: “Safety Alert, Your Current Location Can Be Seen By The Owner Of This Item. You May Be Carrying This Item, Or It Could Be Located Closely. If This Item Is Not Familiar To You, You Can Disable It And Stop Sharing Your Location.”
The victim discovered that the AirTag was activated near the Movie Tavern at 7:19 PM and was trailing them until 8:38 PM when they returned to their residence.
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The victim also discovered an unknown vehicle outside of their home and when they attempted to approach the car — a potentially older model Subaru — it drove away.
As the vehicle left the vicinity, the victim received another notification on their phone that the device was driving eastbound before it eventually disconnected.
Cops have told KMTV in the past that Apple AirTags, “really do pose a danger if someone places this on/in your vehicle or personal belongings such as a backpack or purse."
Apple told The Sun in a statement that they have taken measures to ensure AirTags' privacy and security.
"AirTag is designed with a set of proactive features to discourage unwanted tracking — a first in the industry — and the Find My network includes a smart, tunable system with deterrents that applies to AirTag, as well as third-party products part of the Find My network accessory program," the tech giant representative said.
Apple also stated that they introduced an app called Tracker Detect in December for Android users, which gives them the ability to scan for AirTags that are no longer with their owner.
How to protect yourself
There are several ways to mitigate your risk of being tracked by an AirTag, according to PCMags's Steven Winkleman, such as regularly inspecting personal belongings.
"Take a few minutes to empty your bag and pockets each day; check to make sure all of the seams are intact and you don’t feel any awkward lumps or hard surfaces," he wrote.
It's important to also be wary of your mail, especially if you use a PO box or rent a mailbox.
Furthermore, you will want to inspect your bike and car for trackers, checking behind license plates, the opening between the hood and windshield, in the wheel wells, and the front and rear bumpers of your car.
How to detect and disable an AirTag
If an AirTag is traveling with an unregistered person, it will chirp sometime after 8 to 24 hours.
It will also send a notification to the nearest iPhone that's running on iOS 14.5 or later.
If you find an unknown AirTag in your belongings, you can tap your phone against it to get the serial number and information on how to disable it.
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