One model is sending a warning message to others after someone tried tracking her location using an Apple AirTag this week.
Brooks Nader, a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model who has 827,000 followers on Instagram, shared a video to her Instagram story Thursday, detailing her frightening experience in the hopes of encouraging other people to stay aware of their surroundings.
Nader began her video by explaining that she was at a restaurant bar in New York City's Tribeca neighborhood, waiting for a friend to arrive and had her coat draped on the back of her seat. She recalled the restaurant was pretty crowded but said she didn't think twice about leaving her coat right behind her at the time.
Afterwards, Nader went to another bar, then a third one and everything seemed to be fine. It wasn't until around 11:30 p.m. that she realized something was wrong.
“Once I was already on my walk home, halfway home, I got the notification that was like 'Someone's tracking you and has been for a while,'" she explained in her Instagram story. "So I freaked out, obviously and then, of course my phone died."
Nader was understandably spooked at this point, but she made it home safely and looked into what exactly was going on.
"It turns out it was an AirTag, which is a tiny little white circular thing that Apple makes and it's used for horrible, horrible things. After I researched it, people have been using it in people's cars to stalk them, human trafficking, all kinds of stuff," the model explained. On its website, Apple describes its AirTag product as a “supereasy way to keep track of your stuff” and says you can connect the product to your iPhone’s “Find My” app before adding it to a keychain or bag. The brand suggests using AirTags to help locate missing items (like if you misplace your wallet frequently) since the product sends out a secure Bluetooth signal to help you locate it.
The company has addressed unwanted tracking on the AirTag product page, saying that there’s a built-in feature to help discourage it (what happened to Nader when her phone sent her an alert on her walk home).
When reached by TODAY, an Apple spokesperson reiterated this information and emphasized that the company takes customer safety very seriously and is committed to AirTag's privacy and security.
“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," the statement reads. "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."
AirTags that are paired are tied to a specific Apple ID, which can help law enforcement identify who the missing AirTag belongs to if necessary.
In her video, Nader said she had “no idea” AirTags even existed until her scary experience.
“The only silver lining is that I actually got notified that someone was tracking me. I don’t think that that happens with Tile or any of those other (similar) devices,” she noted.
But what if you don't have an iOS device or a smartphone? Apple says the AirTag itself will still make a noise when it's separated from its owner for an extended period of time. Apple also recently debuted a Tracker Detect app that allows Android users to search for trackers and see if someone has placed one on you.
Nader ended her story by encouraging her fellow females to always keep their guard up when they're out alone.
"I'm kind of just trying to raise awareness, tell all the ladies out there to watch your belongings. ... Just check your belongings, check your surroundings. It was the scariest, scariest moment ever and I just want everyone to be aware that this exists," she said.
In a follow-up Instagram story video, Nader sent another PSA to her female fans who like to post their whereabouts on social media when they're out with their friends.
"Another side note for my ladies, I've learned my lesson the hard way. If you're going to post at a restaurant, drinking with your girlfriends, working out, whatever you're doing with a location that's obvious or geotagged, wait until you leave to post it.
"I have made that mistake so many times and it's very easily avoidable. Just wait till you're home or you're walking home ... until you post that," she said.