Alleged Human Smuggler Used Multiple AirTags to Track His Wife, Leading to His Downfall

Tricky Bugs Cause False Alarms for Airtag Stalking Credit: Apple
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A man who is allegedly a member of a Russian human smuggling network used as many as seven Apple AirTag trackers to stalk his ex-wife. The man’s stalking ways led to his loss of freedom. 

Ibodullo Muhiddinov Numanovich, a Tajikistan citizen living in the United States, is said to have smuggled his ex-wife into the country. Once the woman, known only as “S.K.” in court documents, arrived in the US, Numanovich used several AirTags to track her location.

The trackers were hidden on S.K.’s car by Numanovich, who secreted at least seven Apple AirTags on the woman’s vehicle during March and April. As noted in documents seen by 404 Media, he hid them everywhere he could think of, including the wheel wells, the front bumper, and even the side mirror casings. 

While S.K. discovered the first AirTag tracker, FBI investigators in search of Numanovich located six more. The FBI then used the AirTags to monitor him and lure him to his arrest, nabbing him when he returned to place still more tags on the vehicle. (Because if seven does the job, a few more can’t hurt, right?)

Numanovich not only tracked his ex-wife, but he also used sexually explicit videos and photos of her to attempt to convince her not to seek assistance.

Numanovich is allegedly a member of a huge, transnational human smuggling network run out of Russia. Bank records from 2022 revealed that Numanovich had multiple bank accounts, one of which showed over $2.3 million in transactions, while another showed $2.2 million moving through it. A third account had a single month’s activity amounting to $74,000 in deposits and $64,872 in withdrawals.

Numanovich, who is set to stand trial on June 8, has pled not guilty to the stalking charges.

Unfortunately, while Apple’s AirTags and tracking tags made by other companies have been useful in finding lost and stolen objects, they have also been used by stalkers like Numanovich. 

In February 2022, New York Attorney General Letitia James sent out a consumer alert with “safety recommendations” designed to protect New Yorkers from being tracked by AirTags.

An October 2023 lawsuit filed against Apple in California claims the Cupertino firm’s AirTags are “the weapon of choice of stalkers and abusers.” The case has been joined by three dozen stalking victims. A judge gave the go-ahead to the class-action lawsuit in March. Some state legislatures are taking action, pushing legislation that would make it a crime to track someone with AirTags or similar tracking devices. Pennsylvania state representatives in May introduced legislation that would penalize anyone who used trackers to track someone without their authorization.

In 2022, The Ohio legislature introduced similar legislation, prohibiting placing AirTags or other tracking tiles on another person’s property without their knowledge and explicit consent.

iPhone users will receive an automatic notification if an AirTag that does not belong to them is traveling along with them, offering the option to disable the device’s tracking feature. Meanwhile, Android users can use the  “Tracker Detect” app, found on the Google Play Store, to detect any nearby AirTags. Both Apple and Android users can make an AirTag make a noise if it is detected nearby.

An Apple Support document says If an AirTag, a set of AirPods, or a Find My network accessory is discovered to be unlawfully tracking a person, law enforcement can request any available information from Apple to assist in their investigation.

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