Is someone tracking your every move?

Posted at 9:38 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 23:33:19-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Apple AirTags are designed to help you find things you normally misplace like your keys, your wallet and you can even put one on your dog's collar.

But now, crooks have caught on and they're using them to track a persons every move and the victim wouldn’t even know.

The Air Tags are about the size of a quarter, but they're certainly not spare change; anyone can buy the 4-pack for $99.

They link to your cell phone through the “Find my” app, all designed to help you find things you often misplace.

You attach them to your items and if you lose them, they use Bluetooth to play a sound so a user can find them.

Alexis said she found an AirTag hidden in her new SUV.

“We couldn't find it anywhere in the house and we had realized we were inside my vehicle together,” Alexis said when she and her babysitter found the AirTag.

Then there’s Elizabeth who said someone put one on her car while she was out shopping.

“I just felt really creeped out,” Elizabeth said.

Many people on TikTok are also reporting finding random AirTags on their person.

“I was being informed that there has been an AirTag that has been following me,” one person said.

Another said, “Tucked in. Tucked in right here,” referencing her license plate and the AirTag she found behind it.

That has police in cities around the country investigating cases with people using AirTags to track cars. This means crooks can steal the cars once the owner parks and leaves it.

“It's literally been like tracking her car,” one victim said.

Practically anyone can become a victim.

In a now viral video, model Brooks Nader said that someone dropped an AirTag in her coat pocket at a crowded bar in New York City and then followed her for hours.

"I also didn't know what an AirTag was or anything like that so I was definitely worried and concerned,” Nader said.

In a video from Apple, a woman said, “AirTags are designed to track items, not people.”

AirTags work by using the bluetooth signals put out by phones so when one is close by, even if it's not yours, the owner can tap into that signal and see your location. Apple sends out notifications, even if the person doesn't have an AirTag telling the person that an unknown accessory is moving with them, and that the owner can see its location.

Apple said the notifications can make it harder for AirTags to go undetected and has also updated the AirTags by creating an alarm if they’re away from their owners from 8 to 24 hours.

"It is actually frightening and something that people should pay attention to,” tech expert Craig Agranoff, tells Action 10 News. “A lot of bad things could happen this way. It's just dangerous all around. This is like the future of stalking has come into play.”

The so-called bad actors taking the tiny AirTags, slip them on your car, into your pocket, your wallet and then begin tracking you.

“There's got to be close to a million or so instances of this being used for bad, bad things every year and it's only going to get worse,” Agranoff said. He added that “this can literally happen to anybody.”

But what do you do if you feel like you're being tracked?

“The minute that that alert pops up on your phone, do not go home,” Agranoff advises. “Do not go to the office. Do not go to a friend's house. Go to the police station.”

Action 10 News asked Agranoff if he sees a short-term solution. “Unfortunately, in the short-term, there is not a solution(...) but in this sense, I don't see it getting any better.”

At one point, Agranoff believes Apple will eventually have a registry showing the serial number and the person connected with that AirTag. Yet at the same time, he is doubtful since Apple always says it’s committed to user's privacy.

“Eventually, I think the public is probably going to demand something like that in order to keep using these devices,” Agranoff believes.

Here are some tips if you feel or know you’re being tracked:

  • Don't go home.
  • Go to the police station.
  • Follow on-screen instructions to find and disable.

But what about if you have an Android phone? Just last month, Apple released the app “Tracker Detect.” You can download the app from the google play store.

That app scans for devices using Bluetooth, but unlike the Apple version, you have to run it manually to get a notification. It doesn’t automatically detect the AirTag.

“We take customer safety very seriously and are committed to AirTag's privacy and security," Apple said in a statement. "If users ever feel their safety is at risk, they are encouraged to contact local law enforcement who can work with Apple to provide any available information about the unknown AirTag."

Also keep in mind that tracking something without their consent is illegal in most cases. In fact, law enforcement can't plant a GPS tracking device without a warrant. Although AirTags are not GPS devices since they use Bluetooth. Just one more reason, experts say, stop looking at your phone and be aware of your surroundings.