Once they get to know the passcode, they simply snatch the victim’s iPhone forcibly. In some cases, iPhone users were also drugged. This resulted in the death of one victim.
The passcode is a gateway to your Apple account, data, and money
Criminals use the victim’s passcode to change the Apple ID password which blocks the victim’s access to the account and everything stored in iCloud. Since the passcode also unlocks access to other passwords stored on a device, it grants thieves access to financial apps and services like Apple Pay, Venmo, and banking apps.
Once you get into the phone, it’s like a treasure box. This is growing. It is such an opportunistic crime. Everyone has financial apps.” Alex Argiro, former New York Police Department detective
Victims had thousands of dollars stolen from them and some said Apple credit cards were opened in their name. The last four digits of the Social Security number are required for this but this information can be found in the Photos app if the victims’ phone has photos of sensitive documents.
WSJ says that most victims they spoke to went to the police and had their money refunded by banks and financial apps.
Many have not been able to recover their Apple ID
It’s possible for thieves to change the backup email and phone number associated with an Apple ID and generate a recovery key to disable account recovery. Account recovery is a process that helps users get back into the Apple ID account when they don’t have the required information to reset the password.
Apple offers sympathy to affected users
Security researchers agree that iPhone is the most secure consumer mobile device, and we work tirelessly every day to protect all our users from new and emerging threats. We sympathize with users who have had this experience and we take all attacks on our users very seriously, no matter how rare. We will continue to advance the protections to help keep user accounts secure.” – Apple spokeswoman.
The spokeswoman pointed out that using Face ID and Touch ID can help you protect yourself from such incidents.
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