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Jennifer Gaston, along with her 17-year-old daughter, Maddison, made the discovery while heading back to their car on Magic Kingdom’s monorail earlier this week. At the time, Maddison had received a notification saying they were being followed by the owner of the tracking device.
‘We were terrified, we were confused, hurt and scared,’ Gaston told Fox 35 Orlando. ‘She literally watched it follow us from the tram all the way back to our vehicle,’ she added, referring to her daughter.
Maddison said the device had indicated that they had been tracked for several hours even though it remains unclear when exactly the trace started. The teen and her mother searched their vehicle when they made it back to the theme park’s parking lot, but they couldn’t find the device.
‘I had no idea, no idea what an AirTag was. Like, I was clueless,’ Gaston said. ‘It stated that it was first detected with her at 7:09 p.m. and we got the notification at about 11:33 p.m.’
After the search, both decided to lock the car’s door and drive away before calling local police. Maddison continued to monitor the device’s location on her iPhone for the remainder of the day.
‘As she was refreshing it, it showed the AirTag was still in our parking spot so somehow when we were frantically shaking out clothes and dumping everything out of our bags it fell out,’ said Gaston.
Jennifer Gaston said she discovered an AirTag tracking her and her 17-year-old daughter, Maddison (right) while heading back to their car on the Walt Disney World monorail in Orlando, Florida. The pair had received a notification on Maddison’s phone
The AirTag, which did not belong to the family, stated that it was first detected with the pair at 7:09 p.m. before receiving a notification four hours later, at about 11:33 p.m. Pictured: Gaston’s steps at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World
The family made the creepy discovery while paying a day visit to America’s busiest theme park
The $30 wireless devices was designed to help keep track of items people often misplace, like keys or wallets, but have increasingly been revealed to be used by suspected stalkers to track people, most commonly women.
‘It showed the first destination where it was detected with her, then it basically draws a line and makes the connections of the points where she had been,’ Gaston said.
‘I had seen videos of other people warning people about them and what they were basically. So that’s how I knew what they were and I did not ignore the notification,’ Madison added.
The device is designed to prohibit ‘unwarranted tracking’ by alerting a nearby iPhone when the AirTag 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 should be alerted that there is an AirTag nearby or moving with them.
The AirTag should begin to play a sound to let people nearby know its location. However, it has been proven that the alert and sound can take hours or even days to be sent out and are even able to be turned off. The devices are also very small and can easily be hidden.
The location of the AirTag is sent to iCloud where it can be seen on a map, according to Apple’s website. Using the ‘Find My’ app, the system provides its owner with step-by-step directions to locate the tag and the missing product.
Apple has released an Android friendly app called tracker detect to allow Android users to be alerted of an AirTag moving with them.
As of late, due to growing concerns on the device’s misuse, some privacy groups have called for the gadgets to be stripped from store shelves.
‘Some people who have ill will towards others are using it to potentially stalk people, follow people, tag vehicles, high luxury vehicles, that they might want to come back and steal,’ said David Benson, a security consultant in the area. ‘Even if it’s not at epidemic proportions, it’s happening enough where it’s concerning.’
If a person find themselves being tracked after finding an AirTag, then the best outcome is to go to a public location and to inform local authorities rather than to go home or hotel, Benson added.
People are calling for Apple to discontinue their AirTag tracking devices as women are increasingly reporting finding the devices has been tracking them to their homes
Maddison and her mother agreed that people should report the slightest unusual digital activity they notice on their phones, and to learn more about the new tracking technology as time goes on.
‘Definitely do your research and find out what these are. Have proper settings on your phone so that if you do have an Air Tag that ends up with you to make sure that your phone will detect it,’ Garson said.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Florida said the family didn’t end up physically finding the AirTag, and that the incident has not been identified as a crime. However, investigators have filed an incident report and have been made aware of the event.
In January, a young mother in Texas said she found an AirTag taped inside her duffel bag as she traveled from Texas to Maine.
‘I think they definitely would have hurt me. I don’t think you do that for no reason,’ she told Inside Edition at the time. ‘It took almost 14 hours to let me know this was happening,’ she said.
Most women have found AirTags hidden in or on their cars but sometimes they have even been located in personal belongings such as duffel bags and coats. The small tracking devices cost $30 and can easily be hidden in very inconspicuous places
Hundreds of other women have posted videos on TikTok to share their stories of how they found mysterious AirTags attached to their items and tracking their location since the tracking device was released by Apple in April.
Each AirTag has a serial number physically written on it and connected by Bluetooth. If law-enforcement produces a court order, Apple could reveal the identity of the iPhone the AirTag is registered to.
Law enforcement officers are advising women to go to the police department immediately after getting an unwarranted AirTag notification or finding the device. If possible they advise to avoid returning home, however most women seem to learn about the tracking devices after going home.
Source: Daily Mail