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Fargo woman believes she's being tracked by new Apple product that has raised concerns nationally

Apple AirTags are designed to help you track lost items, but have become popular items for thieves and predators.

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21-year-old Georgina Orn is warning others about the dangers of the new Apple AirTags. Her phone indicates someone hid one on her car and is tracking her movements. Police departments across the country have been warning consumers for weeks.
Matt Henson / WDAY News
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*Editor's note: Apple support has the following steps people can take when they receive an "Item Detected Near You" message.

FARGO — They're meant to help people find something they've lost. However, they are also helping thieves and predators target unwitting victims.

They are called AirTags. They are made to help people keep track of personal belongings, but they have become popular with thieves who like to hide them on cars — like under license plates — to track a person's car to steal or to figure out if they are home.

In the case of 21-year-old Georgina Orn, it's much scarier.

"At first, I had no idea what was going on," she said.

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An Apple AirTag popped up while she was at the gym Monday night, Jan. 31.

"I had no idea what an AirTag was," she explained.

A quick check of her iPhone showed a map with red lines. She was being tracked around town. Orn believes the AirTag, which is the size of a quarter, is hidden on her car somewhere.

"I don't know if someone was watching me at that moment," she said.

Raptor PCS tech expert Phil Pilko says AirTags were created to be attached to things people tend to lose like wallets or keys, or help keep track of something that may be a target for thieves. They've been on the market for less than a year, cost about $30 and are designed for iPhones.

"You can put it into your backpack or something like that. If your laptop is in your bag, and somebody walks off with it, they don't know it's in the backpack, and (you) can track it to where it is," Pilko explained.

The owner of the AirTag can track the device and mark it as lost. That then activates a feature that will send a notification to someone who is near the item and the AirTag. If the owner has registered their contact info, the person who found it can contact them.

"It will send out a ping, and any device near it (within 800 feet of it) will ping back saying, 'Oh, I gotcha,' and then that will then be reported to Apple if the tracker is set to lost mode," Pilko said.

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In Orn's case, when her iPhone is near the AirTag in her car, she gets an alert — sometimes hours later — and that's how she realized she was being tracked.

"I don't really want to know what this person's wanting to conquer, so just terrifying thoughts," said Orn.

Orn has contacted the police but was told there isn't much they can do at this point because the AirTags can be set to a mode where it's nearly impossible to track it back to a person.

She said she brought her car to a mechanic to see if they could find it but was told that would cost a few hundred dollars.

Apple told ABC News that customer safety is their top concern, and if people feel worried to call police. They also have pledged to work with police in these type of cases.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTSFARGO
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