How scammers trick people into unlocking stolen iPhones

charnsitr /

Wondering where your stolen or lost iPhone went? With Activation Lock and Find My iPhone, Apple secures your devices with your Apple ID. This forces thieves to resort to increasingly innovative ways to make the device usable (and salable) again.

Scammers want you to remove Activation Lock

Simply not enough erase iPhoneWhere Activate lock It continues even if the device has undergone a full software reset. To activate the device after a software reset, the associated Apple ID password must be entered. Failing that, the rightful owner can remove the device from their account using “Erase iPhone” followed by “Remove from Account” with Find My iPhone feature on

Removing the iPhone from “Find My” makes it possible to activate the device again, using a different Apple ID. An unlocked device with an Apple ID has much more value than that, so if the rightful owner can be persuaded to remove the activation lock, thieves will benefit.

It is not difficult to track down the rightful owner of a lost or stolen iPhone if the device has been placed in it lost mode. This allows the owner to leave a phone number or other method of contact, so that anyone who finds the phone can return it to its rightful owner.

Related: What is Lost Mode on iPhone, iPad, or Mac?

How does fraud work?

Scammers may send text messages (such as this) for owners of lost or stolen devices, claiming to have found the iPhone along with all the personal data on it. Claims are made that photos, contacts, email and text message contents or even banking and other personal information are at risk.

The goal is to convince owners that they need to properly wipe the device to protect this data, and in order to do so they need to have access to the device. They’ll ask owners to remove the device from Find My on to protect the data. In fact, it is highly unlikely that they will be able to access this data.

iPhone lock screen

Assuming the device has A unique passcode that is not easy to guessChances of this data being available to anyone who owns the phone is slim. All thieves want is to remove the device from your Apple ID remotely so they can use it themselves.

If you are he did not do Secure your device with a unique passcode, thieves will likely send you pictures or screenshots that prove they have your device. You can sign in with your Apple ID And remotely wipe your device in this case (without removing Activation Lock). It’s a good idea to do this anyway, especially if you have a file An iCloud backup you can restore from.

Related: How to use a more secure iPhone passcode

Try not to worry about losing iPhone for a long time

While you lose to the stings of expensive hardware, Apple’s security measures are pretty robust. Get in the habit of using a unique six-digit (or larger) passcode so that if the worst happens, thieves are left with an expensive weight of paper. Above all, don’t be fooled by people trying to convince you to disable Activation Lock by remotely removing the device from your Apple ID.

On the topic of lost iPhones, Here’s what to do if you find someone’s missing device.