ROCKINGHAM — One local law enforcement agency is warning residents to be on the lookout for a trendy tracking device.
The Rockingham Police Department posted a notice to its Facebook page Thursday saying “a couple” of complaints have been filed from individuals who reportedly found an Apple AirTag on or in their vehicles without them being aware of it.
Hamlet Police Chief Dennis Brown and Chief Deputy Jay Childers of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office said their departments have had no similar reports.
According to the Apple website, the AirTag “sends out a secure Bluetooth signal that can be detected by nearby devices” in the network.
“It’s purpose is to be placed on a keychain or on your luggage while traveling, in case you misplace them,” the post from RPD reads.
The AirTag costs around $30.
News reports show that AirTags have also helped police recover stolen property.
While Apple boasts about the device’s privacy perks, Washington Post columnist Geoffrey Fowler wrote in May about having a colleague pretend to stalk him.
“Clip a button-sized AirTag onto your keys, and it’ll help you find where you accidentally dropped them in the park,” Fowler wrote. “But if someone else slips an AirTag into your bag or car without your knowledge, it could also be used to covertly track everywhere you go.”
Fowler said that his faux stalker was able to track him riding a bike in San Francisco within a half-block range and give his exact location when he was at home.
While the device can send an alert to iPhone users who may be tagged, Fowler said Android users would receive no such warning.
CNET reported in June that Apple was set to release an Android app “later this year.”
“AirTags show how even Apple, a company known for emphasizing security and privacy, can struggle to understand all the risks involved in creating tech that puts everyday things online,” Fowler wrote.
In September, Newsweek reported on a TikTok video posted by a woman in California who said she found an AirTag on her vehicle’s license plate. However, Apple Insider later reported that the video was “likely staged.”
“This is another reminder to keep your doors locked and always be aware of your surroundings,” local police say.