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The 1st thing you should do if you get a message an Apple AirTag is tracking you

Apple AirTags were designed to help you keep track of common items like keys and wallets — but in the wrong hands, they can be dangerous.

Police are warning people to be vigilant after receiving reports of Apple AirTags being used to follow individuals without their knowledge.

The small tracking devices, which are about the size of a quarter, made headlines recently when Brooks Nader, a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model, revealed that someone had slipped an AirTag into her coat pocket while she was out with friends in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood.

Nader recently opened up about the scary incident in her Instagram story.brooksnader/ Instagram

As she was walking home around 11:30 p.m., she received a notification on her iPhone that she was carrying an “unknown accessory.”

“This item has been moving with you for a while,” the alert read. “The owner can see its location.”

"When I was almost home, I got this notification on my home screen pop up saying that I was being tracked and I had been for a while now which is basically when I knew something wasn’t right," she told TODAY.

Nader guessed that the AirTag had been in her pocket for about five hours before she received the alert, meaning that whoever snuck it inside her coat would have been able to track her movements without her knowledge during that time.

She said she reported the incident to the police, but added she couldn’t file a police report because no crime had been committed. The NYPD said they could not discuss the case.

Nader is one of several women who have reported being tracked without their consent by Apple AirTags.

For example, one TikTok user, @Kimbrreezeh, said in a video posted in September that her phone notified her that an unknown device was following her. 

“I was being informed that there has been an AirTag that has been following me since 5 o' clock," she said. "It didn't tell me until like 11:30. ... I have no idea who could've done this.”

Law enforcement agencies around the country have also warned Apple AirTags can be used to track cars.

What should you do if you discover you’re being tracked by an Apple AirTag? 

“Law enforcement experts say don't go home — that could reveal where you live to the bad guys,” said senior consumer investigative correspondent instead Vicky Nguyen. “Instead, go to your local police department or a public space and call police from there — ask them to come out and to investigate.”

Apple's product page for the AirTag says the device "is designed to discourage unwanted tracking." For example, your iPhone will ping you if an unrecognized AirTag device is found to be moving with you over time. If that alert goes unnoticed, the AirTag itself will eventually start making a sound.

“We take customer safety very seriously and are committed to AirTag’s privacy and security,” the company said in a statement. “AirTag is designed with a set of proactive features to discourage unwanted tracking — a first in the industry — that both inform users if an unknown AirTag might be with them, and deter bad actors from using an AirTag for nefarious purposes.”

Don't have an iPhone? Apple released an app for Android users that allows people to scan for AirTags. Android owners can download the Tracker Detect app from the Google Play store. 

However, unlike iPhones, Android phones will not automatically alert you to the presence of AirTags; users must actively open and use the Tracker Detect app if they suspect they are being followed.