iPhone thieves who spied a victim’s passcode before stealing the Apple device can easily reset the settings, preventing the owner from accessing it.
According to a new report in The Wall Street Journal, victims have reported having phones stolen from their hands or in bars and other public places, only to find they have been locked out of their accounts.
Scammers with knowledge of a passcode can easily reset the victim’s Apple ID password in the Settings app.
You can turn off Find my iPhone, prevent the owner from tracking it or remotely wiping the device, and remove other devices from the account.
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A mobile phone security screen with passcode is seen in this photo illustration taken in Warsaw, Poland, 2022.
You can also set up a recovery key to prevent a victim from recovering the account.
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In one instance, a thief opened an Apple Card by finding the last four digits of the phone owner’s social security number on photos. Another said she permanently lost photos of her family. Most of the victims filed complaints with the police, and one filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission for identity theft.
A spokesman for Apple told the newspaper that the iPhone is the most secure mobile consumer device and that the company is “working tirelessly” to prevent new and emerging threats.
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FILE PHOTO: A man holds an iPhone 14 as Apple Inc.’s new models go on sale at an Apple Store in Beijing September 16, 2022.
“We sympathize with users who have had this experience, and we take all attacks on our users very seriously, no matter how infrequent,” the spokesperson said, adding that the tech giant believes these crimes are unusual because they involve theft of the device require and the password. “We will continue to improve protection to ensure user accounts are secure.”
An iPhone prompting for the passcode is seen on October 25, 2017.
So how can iPhone users protect themselves?
Use Face ID or Touch ID in public to avoid wandering eyes and prying hands, the spokesperson said, and keep your hands over the screen when entering a passcode.
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In New York in particular, some authorities have suggested Face ID as a possible entry point into the phones — particularly when a user is incapacitated.
Switching to an alphanumeric passcode is also an option that can be done in the Settings app.