New Scam Alert: Thieves Using AirTags to Track You

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Close up of an AirTag attached to a set of keys in a car.

Scammers have found innovative ways to trick innocent people throughout history. Unfortunately, advancements in technology are making it easier for them.

Reports of thieves using AirTags to track victims are popping up nationwide. For many, the idea of someone with ill intentions knowing your location is unsettling.

Today, we want to help you be aware of this scam and how to avoid becoming a victim.

Let’s take a look!

What Are AirTags?

An AirTag is a trackable device that you can attach to important objects such as your keys, wallets, or pets. These tiny gadgets use nearby iPhones and iPads to communicate with Apple’s network.

You can locate items using the Find My app, reducing the chances of losing or misplacing important items.

You can access this app using your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Once logged in, it displays a map of the last known location of any AirTags registered to your profile. It’s even possible to activate a sound on the AirTag to make locating the missing object easier.

One RVer Shares His Story

Recently, in a private RVing Facebook group, one man shared his story about finding an AirTag on his Tiffin. He called the local police department and discovered that several people in his campground were tagged in the middle of the night.

The police informed him that thieves had been using AirTags in the area as a quick tracking tool. They have been used to tag and later steal sports cars, catalytic converters, and other high-value items.

It takes approximately eight to twenty-four hours to alert your personal phone that an AirTag was found, sometimes too late to discover that something has been stolen.

A Facebook post about an RVer discovering their RV had been tagged with an AirTag.

The Dark Side of AirTags: Protecting Your Personal Space

Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for thieves and other vile individuals to start using AirTags for nefarious purposes. They began attaching them to vehicles and other objects that caught their attention. The crooks would then patiently wait for the perfect opportunity to steal or break into the car.

Additionally, some worry about the possibility of people using them to track others. They could place the tag on their vehicle and digitally follow an individual. The potential victim would likely have no clue that someone was stalking them.

Apple recognizes the potential for abuse of the product. To avoid this, you may receive a notification on your phone when an AirTag has been traveling with you.

If you can locate the device, it’s possible to pull identifiable information to identify the owner. It is possible to disable the AirTag entirely if you’re concerned about your safety or who might be tracking you.

Is AirTag Tracking Illegal?

Using an AirTag to track valuables or pets is incredibly convenient and legal. However, you can quickly run into legal issues if you’re using them to track an individual without their permission.

It’s highly illegal, and law enforcement takes these crimes seriously. Apple will turn over information to officials regarding the ownership of the AirTag.

While law enforcement occasionally uses tracking devices to monitor the movements of individuals, it typically requires a warrant. They must convince a judge that they have probable cause to keep an eye on the whereabouts of an individual.

As a result, you better think twice if you’re considering using an AirTag to track someone. You could quickly find yourself on the wrong side of the law, facing legal consequences.

Close up of a person holding an AirTag discovered on their RV.

What to Do if Someone Is AirTag Tracking You

If you receive a notification that an AirTag is tracking you, you must take action quickly.

You want to ensure you and your fellow passengers are safe. Here are several essential steps to follow if you suspect someone is tracking you with an AirTag.

Stay Calm and Safe

The first thing you need to do is to remain as calm and safe as possible. Take a deep breath and investigate your surroundings. Look for any suspicious individuals or activity taking place around you.

If you’re in a remote location, get to a more public setting. Someone up to no good will be less likely to try something sketchy if others are nearby.

Consider parking towards the front of large retail parking lots like Walmart, as they often experience high traffic volumes. 

Look for Suspicious AirTags

Once you are safe, look for any evidence of suspicious AirTags. If you had someone in your vehicle recently, check the area where they were sitting. They could have accidentally left a bag or other item that triggered the alert.

However, if someone had malicious intent, it’s likely stuck to the underside of your vehicle.

Unfortunately, checking the underside of your automobile will likely require you to get onto the ground. Look for any items that don’t belong. How you remove the device will depend on how the individual attached it. Typically, they’ll use magnets or some adhesive. 

Don’t Disassemble the AirTag

After locating and removing the AirTag, do not disassemble it. You can scan the AirTag, and it will display information regarding the Apple ID and account that registered it.

It could provide critical information that could come in handy later. If you suspect someone placed it with ill intentions, you’ll want to take action to identify the person responsible.

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Contact Law Enforcement

You’ll likely want to involve law enforcement if someone is tracking you. Typically, someone tracking another individual doesn’t have good intentions. Law enforcement can step in and take control of the situation.

Apple cooperates with police departments investigating these situations. They’ll turn over information about who registered the device and assist as much as possible in tracking the criminal.

Document the Incident

Throughout the process, write down important details about the events. Record when you received the alert, where you were, and any meaningful information you learned.

It’s also wise to take detailed records of conversations with law enforcement and the names of individuals you deal with.

Documenting the incident can help if you find yourself testifying against the person responsible for tracking you.

It can be easy to confuse details while dealing with such a traumatic situation. You could talk with multiple individuals during the process, and keeping it all straight will be necessary.

Change Your Routine

Until the authorities catch the person, change your routine. Consider taking different routes and adjusting your schedule. Most of us are creatures of habit and maintain very predictable schedules.

If someone has been following you, changing your routine can throw them for a loop and keep you safe.

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Secure Your Digital Footprint

While you may enjoy sharing memories and experiences with others, your digital footprint can provide clues for someone tracking you.

Pictures of your home, employer, and other important places could make it easier for them to locate you. Be mindful of what you share and the locations you tag in your posts.

When traveling, it’s best to delay posting any pictures. If you document your travels in real-time, you’re alerting everyone that you’re not home or there to protect your valuables. So, someone could swipe your stuff while you’re away.

Protect Yourself from AirTag-Tracking Scams

We want you and everyone else to stay safe from AirTag-tracking scams. If you discover an unusual AirTag, take action immediately.

You can twist the device to remove the battery so it no longer transmits a signal. This will keep you safe and give authorities the necessary information to investigate the situation.

How do you feel about AirTag technology?

  1. Very interesting & informative! If you do not have an apple phone, how are you notified???? I’m confused on how you are identified as being tracked & who notifies you…

  2. As if life isn’t scary enough now we have yet ANOTHER thing to fear! The article states several times that you will get a notification if an airtag is being used, but it doesn’t say HOW you’ll get this notification. Will Apple AirTags show up on an Android “find my device” app? This article needs to be more informative on the actual mechanics of how this works.

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