Turn to Tara: Police data shows AirTag stalking is a growing problem. Here's how you can avoid being tracked.
When Apple AirTags hit the marketplace last year, many people jumped at the chance, to never lose another key or wallet again. But now criminals are using the tiny devices for something more sinister - stealing and stalking!
The Turn to Tara team found out it's happening a lot more than you might think! News 12's Tara Rosenblum has the data and tips you need to stay safe.
Margaret O'Hara says she had just returned home from a shopping trip in Yonkers when she got a notification that an AirTag was tracking her. O'Hara assumed the small Apple device belonged to a neighbor, until another notice appeared on her phone the next day.
"I felt, as soon as I saw it, I felt violated," says O'Hara.
She pulled over at a nearby parking lot, and discovered the device near her windshield wipers.
Her story, however unsettling, is not unique.
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The Turn to Tara team obtained data from police departments across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut showing AirTag stalking is on the rise.
It even happened to a Sports Illustrated model in New York City after she left a bar in Tribeca a few months ago.
The devices can be attached to things like purses and coat pockets, but cybersecurity expert Ondrej Krehel says cars by far are the most popular target.
"It could be at the bottom of the car, under the hood. It's super hard to find," Krehel says.
Does all this have you concerned? If so, here's how you can protect yourself:
- Listen for unfamiliar beeping;
- If you find a device, you can hold your smartphone up to it, to get information about the AirTag and its serial number;
- Write it down and disable the AirTag by removing its battery;
- Whatever you do - don't go home. Go to a public place and call the police.
O'Hara called the police.
"They told me that they were probably after the catalytic converter in my car," she says.
In response to all the complaints, Apple is currently rolling out a new anti-stalking feature that makes it easier for victims and police to track their trackers, so be sure to update your operating system regularly. For those with an Android phone, you can download an app called Tracker Detect, it will scan your phone whenever you prompt it to.
In a statement, Apple said "we condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products."
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