WFPD official explains the dangers of popular tracking devices

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A device created to find lost belongings is now a tool for criminals to find their next target.

Apple released a product that could track your devices with little difficulty, and some people are being victimized due to its precise level of operation.

A normal day out shopping and running errands can turn into a terrifying experience due to a device smaller than a silver dollar.

Apple’s AirTags were designed to help consumer’s keep track of their personal belongings if they were to ever lose them, but now criminals are taking advantage of this inexpensive device and using it to find their prey.

“People can use [them] to track your iPhone, your location,” Sgt. Charile Eipper with the Wichita Falls Police Department said. “While it’s in your location, they’ll put it on your car or in your car or somewhere around you, and so those are out there.”

Eipper said this crime trend is growing by the day, but it can be stopped if you’re paying close attention.

“You can’t watch all your stuff all the time, so, I mean, the biggest thing is just being alert and understanding those warnings that come over your own iPhone that shows you that there’s another device that is using your phone in order to track your location,” Eipper said.

Once the tracking device has been planted, predators then have knowledge of your every move and can even follow you all the way to the place that is supposed to be the safest – your very own home.

“Lock your doors on your cars, so devices like that can’t be put inside because that may be something they do, is just find an open door, throw it in there and then wait,” Eipper said. “And then what they do is eventually try to come and find the tracking device later, once they find out where you live and take it. That way, you can’t find it yourself.”

AirTags have been used to find vulnerable people in the area.

“It definitely makes me nervous because I am a young college student, like, I don’t live with a bunch of people,” MSU student Vanessa Mollencapp said.

Mollencapp said while she enjoys the intended aspect of the AirTag, going on a simple outing alone is a rare occurrence because of the way people abuse its purpose.

“I like the idea of it because it is helpful, but I also think it is getting so easy to track people that it can get scary, especially because anyone can do it,” Mollencapp said.

Sergeant Eipper advises everyone to remain diligent in their safety this time of year.

He said doing your research on the AirTags and other tracking devices is key to putting a stop to this particular offense, as well as paying attention to everything around you.

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