A family hunted down in the Disney park with an Apple device

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(NewsNation) — What was supposed to be a fun time at Disney World turned into a disturbing discovery for a Tennessee family.

Midstate mom Jennifer Gaston and her family were enjoying the Magic Kingdom when a mysterious alert popped up on her teenage daughter’s phone. Someone was using an Apple AirTag to track 17-year-old Madison Gaston’s every move.

Madison told NewsNation Prime that she noticed the alert that an AirTag had been detected moving with her. She tapped on the alert, revealing a map of everywhere she’d been in Disney World in four hours.

The family was on their way back to their vehicle at the time since the park was closed for the day. Meanwhile, the AirTag followed them from the train to their truck.

“We just started frantically, like, shaking clothes and emptying our bags,” Jennifer Gaston recalled. “We got in the truck, locked the doors and drove off. We… couldn’t find security in the park.

The Gaston family ended up calling the local sheriff’s office to report the harassment and officers met them at their hotel to file a report. Authorities scanned the last location of the family’s AirTag, which was in their parking spot at Disney.

“I think what happened was we shook out our clothes and emptied our bags, it fell somewhere in that parking space. If we knew then what we know now, we would have taken time to research the tag so they can report it to the authorities and they can investigate, but at the time we had no idea and we didn’t know,” Jennifer Gaston said.

After mentally retracing their steps, Madison said she thought someone may have placed the AirTag on her as she stood in a crowded line, shoulder to shoulder, for a jungle ride. She said the first place the AirTag detected her was online for that specific attraction.

AirTag is a small, stylishly designed accessory that can be personalized with free engraving and allows iPhone users to securely locate and track their valuables using the Find My app. (Photo: BusinessWire)

“We were just really shocked. I’m grateful that Madison…knows what to do and kinda what an AirTag is,” Jennifer Gaston said. “I, on the other hand, didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t know. So when she got the notification and told me she was being tracked because she was placed on her and logged into her device somewhere , I was shocked. I was terrified. And of course our first instinct was, you know, find him, get him off of us, get away from us so no one can follow us anymore. was definitely a scary situation.

Gaston said after going through this scary experience, she would tell people to always be on their guard and learn about AirTags.

“Inquire to know that you have the correct settings on your phone, in order to receive the notification, because once the AirTag is away from its owner for a period of time, it will then alert the device that has been with you , but you have to have certain settings on your phone for you to be able to do that,” Gaston said. “So just be aware of your surroundings.”

Apple says that if an AirTag is seen moving with you over time, you’ll be notified if you’ve enabled certain notifications on your individual device.

The tech giant says that to receive alerts, make sure:

-Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and enable Location Services.

– Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services. Enable Find My iPhone.

– Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services. Enable significant locations to be notified when you arrive at a significant location, such as your home.

– Go to Settings > Bluetooth and enable Bluetooth.

– Go to Find My app, tap the Me tab and turn on tracking notifications.

In order to find the unknown AirTag, Apple says it can make a sound if you follow these steps:

-Tap alert.

-Tap Continue, then tap Play Sound.

-Listen to the sound. You can replay it if you need more time to find the item.

To turn off the AirTag and prevent it from sharing your location, Apple advises you to tap “Instructions to turn off” and follow the onscreen instructions. Learn more about AirTag identification here.

“AirTag, AirPods and other Find My network accessories include features to guard against unwanted tracking,” Apple said in a statement on its support website. “They should not be used to track people and should not be used to track property that does not belong to you. Using these products to track people without their consent is a crime in many countries and regions around the world. If it is discovered that an AirTag, set of AirPods, or Find My network accessory is illegally tracking a person, law enforcement may request any available information from Apple to support their investigation.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office told NewsNation affiliate WKRN that since the family did not physically find the AirTag, his office did not identify any criminal offenses. However, they took an incident report on the matter.

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