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iPhone Stolen? Be Prepared for These Scammer Tactics

Stolen iPhone scam

If you’ve had your iPhone stolen, the last thing you want is to be harassed by thieves trying to unlock and resell your device. Unfortunately, these criminals are becoming increasingly clever in their attempts to manipulate victims into giving up their Apple ID credentials or removing the device from Find My. In this article, we’ll discuss some common threats you might face and what you can do to protect yourself.

Tactics Used by Thieves

Tactic 1: Impersonating Apple

One tactic thieves use is posing as Apple representatives through iMessage or email. They may claim that your lost iPhone has been accessed and unlocked, and that your private data is at risk. To “block unauthorized access,” they’ll urge you to click on a link that appears to lead to an official Apple website. However, these links are actually phishing scams designed to steal your Apple ID and password.

Remember, Apple will never contact you in this manner or ask for your login information. Always double-check the URL of any supposed Apple website, and if in doubt, go directly to apple.com or contact Apple support through official channels.

Tactic 2: Intimidation and Blackmail

If impersonation doesn’t work, thieves may resort to intimidation. They might threaten to leak your private photos, videos, and personal information unless you remove the device from your Find My account. Some even claim to know your home address and threaten physical harm.

It’s crucial not to give in to these threats. An iPhone marked as “Lost” is essentially useless to thieves, as it will continue to display a message indicating its status and cannot be resold intact. The most they can do is sell the parts for a lower price on the gray market. Rest assured that as long as your iPhone is passcode-protected, your data is encrypted and secure.

Stolen iPhone scam

Tactic 3: False Jailbreak and Location Notifications

In an attempt to pressure you into removing your iPhone from Find My, thieves may send notifications claiming they’ve jailbroken your device or that it’s showing up in another country. These messages are designed to create a sense of panic and convince you to give up control of your iPhone.

However, if your device remains marked as “Lost,” it cannot be used normally, regardless of these false claims. Don’t fall for these scare tactics, and keep your iPhone listed as lost in your Find My account.

What Should You Do?

  1. Do Not Fear the Threats: While the threats can be intimidating, remember that scammers rely on fear to manipulate their victims. It’s important to stay calm and not let these threats control your actions. Most threats are empty and intended to scare you into compliance.

  2. Do Not Comply: It’s crucial not to comply with their demands to remove the device from your Apple ID. They are just trying to scare you into removing it because, as it stands, the phone is essentially useless to them.

  3. Expect a Variety of Tactics: Scammers will give you all types of stories, escalate to threats of violence, and send phishing messages to try to manipulate you. They rely on fear and confusion to get you to comply with their demands. Recognize these tactics for what they are: desperate attempts to gain control over you.

  4. Block and Report: Continue to block any numbers that send you threatening messages. Report these numbers to your phone carrier and Apple. Although it seems they find new ways to contact you, consistently blocking them can still reduce the number of messages you receive.

  5. Communicate with Apple Support: Keep Apple Support in the loop about your situation. They can offer advice on additional steps you might take and provide reassurance about the limitations of what the scammers can do with your stolen phone.

Protecting Yourself

  1. Always use a passcode on your iPhone to ensure your data is encrypted.
  2. Be cautious when entering your passcode in public to prevent thieves from snooping.
  3. Enable Stolen Device Protection (available in iOS 17.3) to require biometric authentication for changing your passcode or Apple ID password when away from familiar locations.
  4. Never click on suspicious links or provide your Apple ID credentials to unverified sources.

If your iPhone is stolen, immediately mark it as “Lost” in the Find My app and report the theft to the police. By staying vigilant and informed, you can protect yourself from falling prey to these increasingly sophisticated scams.

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