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Women on TikTok reveal how strangers are using Apple AirTags to track them

A charity has warned Apple AirTags could be used by controlling partners to track victims of domestic abuse, after a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model revealed how a stranger used the device to track her to her home. 

UK-based Women’s Aid told FEMAIL the tracking device, which costs as little as £29 and is designed to help people locate items like their keys, phone and pets, could be easily concealed on a car by a stalker or perpetrator of domestic abuse. 

It comes as women called for the product to be recalled, saying it puts their safety at risk. 

Isabelle Younane, head of policy, campaigns and public affairs, said: ‘Domestic abuse is not always physical. Stalking and tech abuse are very real and dangerous forms of abuse – with survivors who are being stalked by their ex-partner often at risk of greatest harm.

‘During the COVID-19 pandemic, some perpetrators utilised lockdown measures as an opportunity to monitor survivors more closely and escalate abuse– including putting tracking devices on cars. Women’s fears about being tracked by new technology must be heard and taken seriously.’

TikTok user Kayla Malec, an artist from the US, revealed in a viral video how that exact situation had happened to her, and she discovered an AirTag on the bumper of her car after receiving a notification that an AirTag was ‘moving with her’.   

It comes as Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Brooks Nader revealed a stranger put an AirTag in her coat at a bar and tracked her home. 

An Apple spokesperson told Femail that AirTags are designed with a ‘set of proactive features to discourage unwanted tracking’.

Kayla Malec, an artist, filmed herself searching her car for an AirTag after receiving a notification that the tracker was 'moving' with her

Kayla Malec, an artist, filmed herself searching her car for an AirTag after receiving a notification that the tracker was 'moving' with her

Kayla Malec, an artist, filmed herself searching her car for an AirTag after receiving a notification that the tracker was 'moving' with her

Women have been revealing online how strangers are placing Apple AirTags on their vehicles in order to track their every move (pictured,  Kayla Malec, an artist, filmed herself searching her car for an AirTag after receiving a notification that the tracker was ‘moving’ with her)

The AirTag device, launched in April, are now being used by to track vehicles by criminals (pictured)

The AirTag device, launched in April, are now being used by to track vehicles by criminals (pictured)

The AirTag device, launched in April, are now being used by to track vehicles by criminals (pictured) 

Terrifying: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Brooks Nader revealed she was stalked for five hours using an Apple AirTag

Terrifying: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Brooks Nader revealed she was stalked for five hours using an Apple AirTag

Terrifying: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Brooks Nader revealed she was stalked for five hours using an Apple AirTag

Terrifying: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Brooks Nader revealed she was stalked for five hours using an Apple AirTag

Terrifying: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Brooks Nader revealed she was stalked for five hours using an Apple AirTag

Apple AirTags, released for sale by the brand in April, can be attached to items such as keys, backpacks and purses. The circular devices are equipped with Bluetooth connectivity to pair with an iPhone or iPad or third party device. 

The location of the AirTag is sent to iCloud and then it can be seen on a map, according to Apple’s website. Using the ‘Find My’ app, the system provides step-by-step directions to locate the tag and the missing product.

The device is designed to alert a nearby iPhone when it has been separated from its user. For example, if someone was to place an AirTag on a car but not get in the car, then the driver of the vehicle would be alerted that there is an AirTag nearby. 

After a while, the AirTag will begin to play a sound to let people nearby know its location. 

How Apple AirTags were designed as a solution for finding lost keys, purses and pets

Apple AirTags, released for sale by the brand in April, can be attached to items such as keys, backpacks and purses. 

The circular devices are equipped with Bluetooth connectivity to pair with an iPhone or iPad or third party device.

The location of the AirTag is sent to iCloud and then it can be seen on a map, according to Apple’s website. Using the ‘Find My’ app, the system provides step-by-step directions to locate the tag and the missing product.

The device is designed to alert a nearby iPhone when it has been separated from its user. For example, if someone was to place an AirTag on a car but not get in the car, then the driver of the vehicle would be alerted that there is an AirTag nearby.  

After a while, the AirTag will begin to play a sound to let people nearby know its location.  

However there is the suggestion it could be hours before this happens, with Brooks revealing she had unknowingly been tracked for five hours with an Apple AirTag before she was notified. 

Brooks, 26, said she had the ‘scariest moment’ of her life after she discovered that someone had secretly slipped one of the tracking devices into her coat pocket while she was out at a bar in TriBeca, New York City, with friends on Wednesday night.

She said: ‘Ladies, check your bag, coat, pockets, and surroundings. Disturbed isn’t even the word.’ 

Brooks explained that she had ‘never though anything like this could happen to her,’ and said she wanted to share her story in the hopes of educating other women.

She added, ‘I hope that my story can help raise awareness and encourage ladies to look out for this notification and keep their belongings close, especially when out and about.

‘I never thought anything like this could happen to me and it did. If this does happen to you and you find an AirTag, immediately call the police and Apple to track the serial number back to the perpetrator. 

Similar stories have been shared by women on TikTok, with many demanding that Apple recall the trackers. 

A spokesperson for Apple told Femail AirTags are equipped with a proactive feature to ‘discourage unwanted tracking. 

‘We take customer safety very seriously and are committed to AirTag’s privacy and security,’ they said. 

‘AirTag is designed with a set of proactive features to discourage unwanted tracking — a first in the industry — that both inform users if an unknown AirTag might be with them, and deter bad actors from using an AirTag for nefarious purposes. 

‘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.’

Another woman going by Angel shared a similar experience

Another woman going by Angel shared a similar experience

She claimed she received a notification on her phone

She claimed she received a notification on her phone

Another woman going by Angel, left, shared a similar experience, and claimed she received a notification on her phone, right

Angel said she was unable to find the tracker and had contacted her local law enforcement for guidance

Angel said she was unable to find the tracker and had contacted her local law enforcement for guidance

Angel said she was unable to find the tracker and had contacted her local law enforcement for guidance 

Revealed: AirTag safety features to discourage unwanted tracking 

 An Apple spokesperson told Femail that AirTags are designed with a ‘set of proactive features to discourage unwanted tracking. 

They added the app Find My Network includes a tunable system with deterrents that applies to AirTag in order to prevent tracking. 

The spokesperson added Apple would continue to make improvements to AirTag over time 

They also said that the Find Network is the only one offering these pro-active features on the market, adding these features extend to IOS users as well as Android and those without a cell phone.   

They explained an iPhone running IOS 14.5 can recognize if an AirTag or Find y accessory is travelling with you and will send you an alert. 

The app is designed to send you an alert as soon as you get home (your main location on the App) and by the end of the day if you’re staying somewhere else. 

Even for non Apple users, an AirTag will play a sound when moved to draw attention to it, to alert you it’s there. 

The sound is activated within eight to 24h after the AirTags has been moving away from its owner.   

In December 2021, Apple released Tracker Detect in the Google Play Store. 

It allows Android users to proactively scan for item trackers that are no longer with their owner.

If this tracker detects a tracker is moving with you, it’ll play a sound to help you locate it. 

Tracker Detect is also compatible with the Find My Network. 

Of you find an unknown AirTag has been taped to your belongings, you can tap it with an Iphone or NFC-capable device that will talk you though how to disable it.  

 Similar instructions cab be found for Android users via the Tracker Detect app.

AirTags are associated with an Apple ID and the information of the corresponding account will be sent to local enforcement with a valid legal request. 

Find My network and AirTag also use unique Bluetooth identifiers to help locate missing items or devices. These Bluetooth identifiers are anonymous and rotate frequently so users can’t be tracked from place to place, a spokesperson said. 

When locating an offline device or AirTag, the information of both the person who finds it and the owner is protected with end-to-end encryption, meaning no one, not even Apple, can find the identify or location of the person who helps locate a missing Find My network accessory. 

You can also consult the following page in Apple: What to do if you get an alert that an AirTag or Find My network accessory is with you

Artist Kayla posted a three-minute-long video, explaining she received a notification from the Find My app reading: ‘An AirTag is moving with you’ and ‘The location of this AirTag can be seen by its owner.’

In the clip, she exclaimed: ‘Somebody put an AirTag, a freaking AirTag, a tracking device, on my car.’ 

The woman then filmed herself checking behind her license plate and other likely hiding spots around her car, including her vent and between the windows and cracks, in order to find the tracker. 

After a first sweep, she was unable to locate the tracker on the outside of her car.

She then moved on to searching inside the car, from her glove box to between and underneath the seats, but did not find anything.

Eventually, at the end of the video, Kayla said she found the tracker, and felt ‘sick.’ 

She explained: ‘I think I want to cry more now that I found it. 

‘My heart feels like it’s going to come out of my throat.

‘Somebody, while I was parked somewhere, came up to my car and slid it in.

‘And I would have never seen it, but a little bit of the white was poking through,’ she went on. 

In spite of finding the device, Kayla was unsure what to do, and whether she needed to contact her local police enforcement.  

‘I don’t really know what to do now that I’ve found it, I don’t know who to get in contact with, like do I go to the police? What are they gonna do,’ she said. 

‘I feel like I’m gonna throw up, like I’m really nauseous now,’ she said. 

Meanwhile, a Texas-based TikTok user going by Angel said she had received similar notifications. 

She said that she de-activated her Bluetooth and her location, but it didn’t stop the owner of the tracking device from following her. 

Meanwhile she also said she was unable to de-activate the AirTag because she had searched her belongings and could not find it and therefore was unable to  give a serial number to the police.  

‘After I posted a little bit about this on my Instagram story, I had a friend call me and he told me that his little sister got the exact same notifications, come into her phone a couple of weeks ago and she ended up finding an Apple AirTag under her license plate,’ Angel said. 

‘Please look after your loved ones, be extra careful, and search your belongings if you get these notifications.’ 

Angel added she contacted law enforcement about the case, and was awaiting more information from them. 

The two women are among a larger group of TikTok users who have reported getting Find My notifications and ended up finding trackers taped to their vehicles or in their belongings. 

Their followers have been calling for Apple to recall the devices, which they said were dangerous. 

‘Apple needs to recall those things because clearly people aren’t using them the correct way,’ one wrote. 

‘Apple releasing the air tags was the biggest mistake they ever made,’ another said. 

Two women searched their car after being notified an AirTag was following them

Two women searched their car after being notified an AirTag was following them

They found the device tucked underneath the floor of their car

They found the device tucked underneath the floor of their car

Two women found an AirTag tucked underneath the floor of their car, right after getting a notification one of the devices was following them, left 

Another woman revealed she found an AirTag hidden behind the license plate of her brother's car that she had been driving

Another woman revealed she found an AirTag hidden behind the license plate of her brother's car that she had been driving

Another woman revealed she found an AirTag hidden behind the license plate of her brother’s car that she had been driving

Two women searched their car after being notified an AirTag was following them

Two women searched their car after being notified an AirTag was following them

They found the device tucked underneath the floor of their car

They found the device tucked underneath the floor of their car

Two women found an AirTag tucked underneath the floor of their car, right after getting a notification one of the devices was following them, left 

‘Apple really need to recall these things this happens way too much,’ one wrote.

Some people were able to play a sound in order to locate the AirTag after receiving notification.  

Another woman said she received a notification and ended up finding an AirTag hidden behind the license plate of her brother’s car after she drove it. 

She said she and her father contacted law enforcement and gave them the serial number of the tracker and were still waiting to see what would happen.  

Another woman found an AirTag hidden underneath the floor of her car’s back seat, after spending several minutes rummaging through the car in order to find it. 

And another user shared an awareness video on her account showing how easily AirTags could be used to track people.   

1663181417 489 Women on TikTok reveal how strangers are using Apple AirTags

1663181417 489 Women on TikTok reveal how strangers are using Apple AirTags

1663181417 251 Women on TikTok reveal how strangers are using Apple AirTags

1663181417 251 Women on TikTok reveal how strangers are using Apple AirTags

1663181417 966 Women on TikTok reveal how strangers are using Apple AirTags

1663181417 966 Women on TikTok reveal how strangers are using Apple AirTags

People on TikTok demanded that Apple recall the tracking devices because they were used in nefarious ways

People on TikTok demanded that Apple recall the tracking devices because they were used in nefarious ways

People on TikTok demanded that Apple recall the tracking devices because they were used in nefarious ways 

How AirTags have been used by car thieves to track expensive vehicles to the owner’s house – where they are taken from the driveway 

Thieves are turning to increasingly sophisticated methods in their attempts to steal cars – by using Apple AirTags to track high-end vehicles.

Cops in the York region of Ontario, Canada, have recorded at least five incidents in a matter of weeks where the devices have been used to track cars.

Thieves first target cars in public places and parking lots by hiding the $29 coin-sized AirTags next to gas caps, behind trailer hitches and under bumpers.

They then use iPhones to track the car to the owner’s home before picking the ideal time to steal them from the driveway with keys taken from the house. 

York Regional cops have reported a spate of such thefts – and have warned the technique could soon become more widespread.

High-end vehicles such as Lexus S350s, Ford F150s, Toyota Highlanders and Honda C-RVs have been among targets, the York Regional cops said.

Apple Air Tags, released for sale by Apple in April, can be attached to items such as keys, backpacks and purses. The circular devices are equipped with Bluetooth connectivity to pair with an iPhone or iPad or third party device.

The location of the AirTag is sent to iCloud and then it can be seen on a map, according to Apple’s website. Using the ‘Find My’ app, the system provides step-by-step directions to locate the tag and the missing product.  

 

Video footage revealed carjacking thieves stealing a vehicle at a residence after tracking it using a AirTag device

Video footage revealed carjacking thieves stealing a vehicle at a residence after tracking it using a AirTag device

Video footage revealed carjacking thieves stealing a vehicle at a residence after tracking it using a AirTag device