Tech trackers can help you find missing stuff, but the Naugatuck Police Department is issuing a warning after they arrested someone who was using one of these devices to stalk someone.
Police say officers responded to a domestic dispute this weekend only to discover an Apple “AirTag” inside the victim’s vehicle.
“The AirTag was discovered in her car. It was in her center console and obviously it was tracking her movements,” said Naugatuck Police Officer Danielle Durette.
Durrette said 27-year-old Wilfred Gonzalez of Waterbury was arrested for stalking. He also was charged with violating a protective order and breach of peace.
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Gonzalez is out of jail on bond and has not entered a plea. He’s expected to appear in court again in March.
“To somebody who was a victim, I mean to anybody, a very scary kind of thing to discover that someone has been following where you have been going,” said Durette.
An Apple AirTag is about the size of a quarter and can be kept in a keychain, so if you misplace your keys, for example, an app can help you track them down.
“It’s meant to be a good thing that can help you keep track of those things, but unfortunately like most things now, they are being introduced into the criminal realm which is concerning because you have people using them nefariously,” said Durette.
NBC News has found police around the country are seeing similar cases.
Model Brooks Nader took to social media to tell her followers to be cautious and aware of their surroundings, after she says an AirTag was slipped into her belongings after a night on the town.
Apple provided a statement to NBC Connecticut about the incident.
"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.”
Like in Nader’s case, iPhone users should get a notification if it notices one of these devices following your every move.
Android users can download the “Tracker Detect” app from the Google Play store to proactively scan for one of these devices keeping tabs on you.
NBC Connecticut reporter Caitlin Burchill tested an AirTag out. She and an NBC CT photographer took their boss’ device for a drive. When they got gas, he knew where they were. When they stopped for caffeine, he could track that, too.
Apple says if users ever feel their safety at risk, contact police and the company says it can provide officers with any available information about the unknown AirTag.
“They are usually set up through an email or a cell phone, so we have our ways of finding out who they belong to,” said Durette, who reminds people to keep an eye on their surroundings, too.