Apple needs to exterminate bug causing AirTags stalking false alarms

With all of the publicity that is generated when a rogue Apple AirTag is used to stalk unsuspecting victims, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple is now having issues with AirTags that result in alerts being sent to users who aren’t being stalked at all. While the device was designed to help people keep tabs on small items that they are apt to lose such as key chains, the AirTags have been used by criminals to follow the whereabouts of certain car models that bring high returns in the stolen car market.

iPhone users are receiving bogus notifications stating that they are being stalked

And to prevent iPhone users from becoming victims of criminal AirTag users, they are alerted when being followed by someone else’s AirTags. That’s what happened recently at Disney World when a mother and daughter were leaving the park and the daughter received a notification on her iPhone saying that she was being tracked by another person’s AirTag. Luckily, nothing ever came of the incident although it frightened both of them..

What is happening more and more is that iPhone users are receiving such frightening alerts even if they aren’t being tracked at all. The Journal says that some of these warnings are coming in the middle of the night and are scaring those who are receiving the notifications. In most cases, the rogue AirTags are not in the path of the concerned iPhone users at all, and could be from a bug or a glitch.

The bogus reports have created “confusion and concern, and have led recipients on wild goose chases” according to the Wall Street Journal. And graphs tracking these bogus AirTag alerts create patterns that are not realistic. These patterns are showing the erratic movements of these AirTags moving in nonsensical directions.

Ryan McClain, a 25-year-old marketer in Indianapolis, received a notification one-morning last month that said he was being tracked. His response was a combination of bewilderment, fear, and concern. “It was a shock to my morning,” he said. “I thought, ‘Who would want to stalk me? Who would want to hurt me?” McClain and his fiance spent the next day looking in vain for the offending AirTags.

Apple needs to exterminate bugs that are scaring users by sending them false messages about getting stalked

Toronto-based consumer researcher Marcus Geisler found the pattern of movement generated by the AirTags to be strange. “The AirTag’s pattern of movement on the map looked super weird,” said Geisler.” “I thought maybe my neighbor’s dog accidentally swallowed it,” He also was unable to find any rogue AirTags.

Another iPhone user, 24-year-old Natalia Garcia, received a notification telling her that an “AirTag (was) Found Moving With You.” She received the message after an evening in downtown Chicago. “It was scary,” Garcia said, “I checked my purse, looked all around to make sure no one put an AirTag on me,” she said. She tried to force the tracker to ring its alarm but the Find My app just would say “AirTag Not Reachable.”

So what should you do if you’re getting bombarded with bogus notifications? Should you turn the notifications off? Not al all says John DeCarlo, director of the master’s program in criminal justice at the University of New Haven and a former Branford, Conn., police chief. “Getting false alarms with technology is a common occurrence,” DeCarlo said. “If you turn the notifications off, it leaves you without the benefits.”

If the bogus notifications are from a bug, it will be up to Apple to try and exterminate it just to keep users from feeling that an unseen stalker constantly has his eyes on them even if that isn’t true at all.

It just reveals what a sad state the world is in that a device meant to help people find missing objects becomes a scary product used to attack people just minding their own business.

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