Elon police share warning after student reports being tracked by Apple AirTag

Piedmont Triad News

ELON, N.C. (WGHP) — The Elon Police Department shared a warning for the public after an Elon University student received a notification she was being tracked by a device. 

The student contacted officers just after midnight Tuesday after receiving an alert on her phone. She told officers the device had been with her for just under five hours. 

“She actually came back the next day so we could search her car better in the daylight. We couldn’t find it that time, either. We don’t know if it was in the car, on the car or on her person. Maybe in her purse. We don’t know for sure,” Assistant Chief J.T. Turney said. 

Apple AirTags are approximately the size of a quarter. Ron Pierce of Trinity Solutions, Inc, a computer support company, told FOX8 newer iPhones detect nearby tags. 

“If that item, let’s say it was car keys…had an AirTag on it, and you got near those keys, your phone will alert you saying ‘hey, I’m an AirTag. I’m here.’ You can click on your phone, click on the alert, and it will tell you who owns that AirTag and if they have reported it lost,” he explained. 

Pierce said if a tag is “following” you, the iPhone will notify you using the “Find My” application. He said there are ways to be proactive if you are overly concerned someone is trying to find you. 

“Let’s say you’re in a domestic situation where…you don’t trust that partner, and you think that partner might be using in an AirTag in a way they shouldn’t. I could definitely see someone with an iPhone basically walking around their car, scanning their car inside and out to see if anything kind of tracks and tags itself,” Pierce said.

“Always if you feel that your security is being threatened, don’t hesitate to contact local authorities. Let somebody take a look at your car your surroundings…to see if they can’t find what is causing that alert,” Pierce said. 

An Apple spokesperson issued the following statement: 

“We take customer safety very seriously and are committed to AirTag’s privacy and security. 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.” 

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