Wichita woman tracked with Apple AirTag
What to do if you believe you’re being tracked with an AirTag device.
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Cheap and easy to get, some new technology meant to make your life easier is raising concern for some. Factfinder 12 speaks with a Wichita woman who discovered she was being tracked with something called an Apple AirTag. There are steps a person can take to protect themselves, but they won’t work to protect everyone.
Imagine a night on the town with friends, turning into something from a scary movie...that all starts with an alert on your phone. That’s what happened to one Wichita woman who asked we not show her face or tell you her name.
“When I got home, it was on my phone. It popped up saying that an air tracker was detected with me, and it was at my location,” she told Factfinder 12.
The message warned her that a small device, about the size of a quarter, called an Apple AirTag was traveling with her.
“I think somebody watched me walk into the place that I was going by myself and must have...put it on my car and then now they obviously know where I was,” the woman said.
The intent of an Apple AirTag is to help iPhone users keep track of things like their keys or a wallet. Some people put them on their pets’ collars, but bad guys can put them on you or your car and track your movements. Personal protection expert Joe Schilacci says the technology being used in this way is alarming.
“They (the person who placed the AirTag on the woman we spoke with) have taken stalking to a whole new level,” Schilacci said. “A very serious and a very scary, scary level.”
Apple recently made updates to how the AirTags work. Now, a warning like the one received by the woman we spoke with, are sent to iPhone users informing them the device is moving with them. If a person receives that warning, Schilacci says they need to take action immediately.
“Whoever is going to this length to stalk means serious business and that could end up in very tragic result,” he said. “The first thing you got to do is all 911 and say ‘this is what’s going on’.”
Schilacci also says to get to a very public place and to stay on the phone with 911 until officers arrive. If a person receives the warning, they can use their iPhone to help locate the device. However, the user’s phone has to be setup correctly in order to receive notifications. Factfinder 12 used the Apple AirTag for one week and discovered not all iPhones, though they seemed to have been setup correctly, received the warning when an AirTag was traveling with the. Plus, Android phone users don’t receive the warning at all.
The victim in the Wichita incident still has no idea who tracked her, but her advice to anyone who find themselves in her shoes is the same as our expert’s.
“I’m going to make sure that I go with somebody,” she said. “I always have somebody with me, and I’m just going to be more aware of my surroundings.”
“Be aware of your surroundings. I would warn you not to be alone...if you don’t have to,” Schilacci added.
A few more things.If you do find you’re being tracked by an AirTag, don’t destroy it. Place it near the top of your iPhone to receive information about the owner of the AirTag and how to disable it. Apple suggest you take screenshots of the info you find. There is an Android app to help locate an AirTag, the app will not warn you that there is an AirTag traveling with you. If you suspect you are being tracked, you have to wait ten minutes before it will allow you to locate the device. If located, the process to retrieve information about the owner is the same as with an iPhone. Regardless, Schilacci and Apple suggest contacting authorities.
For more information about how to setup your phone to receive alerts or what to do if you believe you are being tracked with an Apple AirTag, click here.
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