AirTags are meant to help you find missing items, but some people use them to track others without their knowledge.
ATLANTA – Tracking your lost items just got easier with new technology like the Apple AirTag. You can find your missing keys, wallet or purse with the push of a button. But with the solution to one problem came the advent of another; instead of using AirTag to track items, some use it to track people.
Police reports of unwanted follow-up have surfaced in Atlanta, Gwinnett and Cobb counties.
“Are we safe? Like, are we going to be safe? Asked a woman we call “Claudia” after receiving a notification on her iPhone that an unknown accessory was traveling with her.
âI could see on the map in my search for my app that she had been following me or following me,â she said.
Posts about Unknown AirTags on people’s properties are flooding social media.
âI started to panic,â Leah Dollison said.
Dollison lives in Lubbock, TX – different state, same notification.
âThe post specifically said that this AirTag was seen traveling with you,â Dollison said.
A bodybuilder found an AirTag hidden under his car.
âThere was, like, a long red line going to Idalou and then back, and I was dropping my kids off,â she said.
RELATED: Yes, People Can Use AirTags To Track You Without Your Knowledge
Dollison did what Apple tells people to do if they find a suspicious AirTag; she called the police. But, the technology is so new that it takes the police by surprise, as we have discovered their reactions to the body-worn cameras obtained by The Reveal.
“This is the first time I’ve come across something like this,” said an Atlanta officer, who was at the scene following a report of a woman being followed by an AirTag.
Another officer tried to explain to a superior what was going on in a separate AirTag tracking report.
âHe literally followed his car. Apparently this can be detected for some reason, âthe officer said. “How does your phone pick up on it?” He yelled at the woman bringing the AirTag back.
The problem of unwanted AirTags following people is getting worse. We discovered eight police reports in our area, most of them within the past month.
Private investigator Eric Echols said police were not caught up with the technology.
“He goes beyond the police and goes beyond the law,” Echols said.
Not only is it scary that someone could follow you, but Echols said it was completely legal as well.
âIn Georgia, anyone can put a GPS device on anyone’s vehicle as long as that vehicle is in a public place,â he said.
He also added that the device must be outside the vehicle in accordance with Georgian law. And at just $ 29 apiece, the AirTag is readily available to almost anyone.
âI foresee that there will be some liability when someone is hurt and the cause is because of this etiquette being used to track that person or find that person. It’s only a matter of time, âsaid Echols.
âI just didn’t think this was going to happen to me,â Dollison said.
The reality is it can happen to anyone, so here’s what you need to know if it happens to you.
First, if you get a notification on your phone that an AirTag or an unknown accessory is traveling with you, Echols has said not to go home. You don’t want to lead someone who is potentially stalking you where you live, he added. Instead, he said to go to a public place or a police station.
Second, if you have an iPhone, it should give you the option to play a sound on the AirTag that will alert you to where it is. If you don’t have an iPhone, Apple says the AirTag will automatically play this sound once it’s separated from its owner for a period of time.
If you find an AirTag, you can simply unscrew the stopper and remove the battery to deactivate it.
Apple declined our request for an on-camera interview, but told us it was possible for someone to receive a “false alarm” if someone is traveling with you and they have an AirTag.
âAirTag and the Find My Network were also designed to discourage unwanted tracking,â Apple said.
For a full list of step-by-step instructions on what to do if you receive a notification that you’re being tracked, click here.