It's scary to think about, and even scarier to think it's happening here in the Hudson Valley.

Though there are some good uses for tracking devices, such as Apple's AirTag, like to keep track of your little ones or even your personal items like luggage or a backpack, the thought of having a tracking device put on you by a stranger is terrifying.

A story published by NPR explained that recently, there have been a number of reports of the devices, which are quite small and button-sized, being used by stalkers and thieves to track people.

Tracking in the Hudson Valley

Here in the Hudson Valley, several people have shared similar stories of hearing about it happening locally, or even experiencing it themselves.  A recent post in a Dutchess County-based 'moms' Facebook group indicated that a local woman was in the Poughkeepsie Target and received a notification on her iPhone of an Apple AirTag attempting to connect. She later found the device in her 2-year-old's pocket.  The post explained that she went to customer service, who called the police and found the device on the child.

This post prompted another local mom to share that she experienced something similar at the BJs in Wappingers Falls this past Sunday.  In speaking with the Dutchess County woman, who preferred to keep her identity private, she shared that she was at BJs with her husband, left the store, and when she pulled into her driveway about 30 minutes later, she received a notification on her phone that an unknown device had been tracking her location and would like to connect.  The notification also had an option to 'get more information,' but she was unable to click to find out more.  She also shared that the notification said if you were not familiar with the device and felt unsafe, to call local law enforcement, which she did.

It turns out, an AirTag was placed in her jacket that had been hanging on her cart while shopping at BJs.  The police kept the tracking keychain, and then had officers passing by her home regularly to ensure the safety of her family.

Apple's Plan of Action

The NPR article shared that Apple issued a statement recently saying it was working with law enforcement on all requests and is planning to roll out additional software updates to help iPhone users become more aware of and locate unknown AirTags that were following them.  Additionally, for those with Android devices, there are apps available for download that can check for pairing devices and trackers.

With the rising number of reports of this kind of thing happening globally, CNET tech has provided some helpful tips to protect yourself from being tracked.  While it's always been important, it is imperative these days with these small devices that can easily go unnoticed, to be aware of your surroundings when out in public, and to always keep a close eye on your kids.

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