Bali tourist urges Aussies to 'be careful' after 'super scary' find in luggage

The Sydney woman and her partner were three days into their trip when they made the alarming discovery.

A woman visiting Bali has recalled a "super scary" experience and warned other holidaymakers to "be careful" with their bags while travelling.

Emily Sinclair flew from Sydney to the Indonesian island last week, but three days after arriving a "strange noise" alerted her and her partner Jane to a "creepy" find in their luggage.

Ms Sinclair claims to have found an Apple AirTag in the front zip of Jane's backpack which she insists didn't' belong to either of them. They made the discovery after hearing an unusual sound being emitted from the GPS tracking device.

Bali travellers Emily Sinclair and Jane find Apple AirTag inside backpack.
Emily Sinclair (left) and her partner Jane found the Apple AirTag tracking device in the front zip of their backpack after arriving in Bali. Source: Supplied

"We think it must have been put there by somebody as neither of us own any Apple products and we both went through our bags before we started packing to make sure they were empty", she told Yahoo News Australia after returning from their trip. She said it was only after they arrived in Amed, a three-hour drive from Denpasar, they realised and instantly feared the worst.

"We found the tracker two mornings later as it was making a noise in my partner's bag. We immediately dismantled it and we were honestly terrified. We had no idea why someone would do that".

Aussie traveller warns others to 'double-check bags'

According to Apple, an AirTag separated from its owner for a period of time will emit a sound when it's moved, so that's likely what they heard. After pulling it apart they saw it had an Indonesian battery, which "set off alarm bells" and made them think they were targeted.

Ms Sinclair said they didn't feel comfortable reporting it to local authorities, they simply left the device behind when they left their accommodation.

Sydney woman Emily Sinclair, Apple AirTag tracking device.
Emily Sinclair said the Apple AirTag device did not belong to her or her partner. Source: Facebook/getty

"We're both well-seasoned travellers, we've been all over the world and nothing like this has ever happened to either of us as we are both always really careful with this kind of thing," she said. "I'd never heard of anything like that happening before. Hopefully, people will just double-check their bags and stay safe."

She also noted the "tiny" size of the Apple device which can "easily go unnoticed".

Social media divided over 'strange' luggage find

After posting her experience on Facebook, some admitted it was both a "scary" and "strange" thing to happen with some suggesting it's a scam tactic used to target tourists.

"Shows how easily someone could frame you for something. Scary stuff. Glad you found it and ditched it," one said. While others suggested getting a new bag for future travel.

But some suggested it could have been a simple and innocent mistake. "It was probably in or on someone else's bag, fell out at the airport and someone at the airport thought it fell from your bag and slipped it in there," one explained.

People walking out of Denpasar airport, Bali.
The couple claim someone at Denpasar Airport in Bali put the tracking device in their bag. Source: Getty

Expert weighs in on 'dangers' of AirTags

Travel expert Quentin Long said he'd never heard of such a scam targeting tourists but agreed "anything that can be used to track has some dangers with it". He told Yahoo News "there are all sorts of reasons" how the tag could have landed in the luggage but said it "seems like a very expensive way" to scam or set up travellers.

"It could have been that someone was inspecting a bag [at the airport] and it came out and then they misplaced it and put it in the wrong bag. That's the innocent scenario," he said. "But the intention could have also been to make sure [the culprit] knew where that particular bag was going to end up".

Overall, the travel expert thinks Apple AirTags are "fabulously good" for travellers and have been great for locating lost luggage at airports around the world "as long as you own them and they're connected to your device and other people's don't get entwined in what you've got."

"It's just a shame to see the idea of them being used to track tourists for ill gains, it's probably a little bit scary and just something to be aware of," he said.

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