Omaha woman reveals fear of stalking after finding AirTag on car

Omaha woman reveals fear of stalking after finding AirTag on car

It’s a device designed by Apple to help keep track of missing items, it’s called an AirTag, but reports nationwide show more and more people are using it for the wrong reasons. Now we’re hearing similar stories in Omaha, like one woman who said she’s been tracked for months. KETV NewsWatch 7 is keeping her identity hidden to protect her identity. We’re calling her ‘Linda.’The day started off like normal. Linda was out shopping with her daughter, but as she pulled into the driveway, she received an alert.”I had a notification on my phone that said, an unknown device has been with you. And the owner can see its location,” she said.After clicking on it, a map popped up. It displayed every store she went to hours earlier. “I kind of just brushed it off as a joke, because I didn’t realize that people were actually doing this,” Linda said.Following a call to Apple, she quickly realized it wasn’t a prank. “She said that she didn’t want to scare me. But it looks like I have an Apple AirTag on my car,” Linda said. It’s something happening across the country, Smart Gen Society CEO Amie Konwinski said that women often are targeted. “We were surprised that it was just right here in our community. I know it has been nationally in some areas,” Konwinski said. People are buying these AirTag’s for just $30. Investigators say they choose their victims and then sticking the AirTags to their cars and track them using their iPhone. Many victims like Linda only find out because they have an iPhone which allows Apple users to receive notifications saying there’s an ‘Unknown Device’ tracking them. KETV Investigates reached out to Apple, a spokesperson said they’re trying to, “Deter bad actors from using an AirTag for nefarious purposes.”The spokesperson said, “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.”Linda said that’s exactly what she did. “They weren’t really sure what to do about the situation,” Linda said. Because the technology is so new, Konwinski said many police departments have their hands tied. “The police don’t know how to handle it,” she said. “They feel like there’s really nothing they can do.” AirTags are about the size of a quarter making it that much easier for someone to hide it around or inside of your car. Linda said her family searched her car for hours. Checking the tires, behind the license plate and even crawling underneath the car with a flashlight, but still, it was impossible to find. “It’s like playing a game every day of a needle in a haystack,” Linda said. So what does that mean if you can’t find the AirTag? “They can’t do anything without the Apple tag itself because they need the serial number off of it to find out who actually owns the device,” Linda said. Without it, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said it makes it harder to prove someone was stalking you. “That’s the key is what’s the evidence that we have that we can prove that somebody used it for that purpose?” he said. Kleine said they could be charged and serve up to three years in prison. “Stalking, by the use of this electronic device and that’s a felony, could be a felony can be a misdemeanor,” Kleine said. As far as Linda, it’s been months and she still can’t find it anywhere. “This device could possibly track me for two full years before the battery dies and or if the owner decides to turn it off and start tracking somebody else,” Linda said.

It’s a device designed by Apple to help keep track of missing items, it’s called an AirTag, but reports nationwide show more and more people are using it for the wrong reasons.

Now we’re hearing similar stories in Omaha, like one woman who said she’s been tracked for months.

KETV NewsWatch 7 is keeping her identity hidden to protect her identity. We’re calling her ‘Linda.’

The day started off like normal. Linda was out shopping with her daughter, but as she pulled into the driveway, she received an alert.

“I had a notification on my phone that said, an unknown device has been with you. And the owner can see its location,” she said.

After clicking on it, a map popped up. It displayed every store she went to hours earlier.

“I kind of just brushed it off as a joke, because I didn’t realize that people were actually doing this,” Linda said.

Following a call to Apple, she quickly realized it wasn’t a prank.

“She said that she didn’t want to scare me. But it looks like I have an Apple AirTag on my car,” Linda said.

It’s something happening across the country, Smart Gen Society CEO Amie Konwinski said that women often are targeted.

“We were surprised that it was just right here in our community. I know it has been nationally in some areas,” Konwinski said.

People are buying these AirTag’s for just $30. Investigators say they choose their victims and then sticking the AirTags to their cars and track them using their iPhone.

Many victims like Linda only find out because they have an iPhone which allows Apple users to receive notifications saying there’s an ‘Unknown Device’ tracking them.

KETV Investigates reached out to Apple, a spokesperson said they’re trying to, “Deter bad actors from using an AirTag for nefarious purposes.”

The spokesperson said, “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.”

Linda said that’s exactly what she did. “They weren’t really sure what to do about the situation,” Linda said.

Because the technology is so new, Konwinski said many police departments have their hands tied.

“The police don’t know how to handle it,” she said. “They feel like there’s really nothing they can do.”

AirTags are about the size of a quarter making it that much easier for someone to hide it around or inside of your car.

Linda said her family searched her car for hours. Checking the tires, behind the license plate and even crawling underneath the car with a flashlight, but still, it was impossible to find.

“It’s like playing a game every day of a needle in a haystack,” Linda said.

So what does that mean if you can’t find the AirTag?

“They can’t do anything without the Apple tag itself because they need the serial number off of it to find out who actually owns the device,” Linda said.

Without it, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said it makes it harder to prove someone was stalking you.

“That’s the key is what’s the evidence that we have that we can prove that somebody used it for that purpose?” he said.

Kleine said they could be charged and serve up to three years in prison.

“Stalking, by the use of this electronic device and that’s a felony, could be a felony can be a misdemeanor,” Kleine said.

As far as Linda, it’s been months and she still can’t find it anywhere.

“This device could possibly track me for two full years before the battery dies and or if the owner decides to turn it off and start tracking somebody else,” Linda said.