iPhone theft on the rise
IDSC "BlackTechlogy": Before you recycle or discard that old phone, consider your backup options
While “Abbott Elementary” and two seasons of “A Black Lady Sketch Show” are cracking jokes at Android smartphone users, it looks like those too-cool iPhone users are having their own share of issues. In a recent report from the Wall Street Journal via CNN, savvy phone hackers are getting ahold of iPhone users’ recovery key (a 28-digit code option introduced in 2020), stealing their phones and then changing their codes.
This makes it nearly impossible to access the phone (they turn off the “Find my iPhone” option). Bank accounts have then been drained. Photos, messages and data have become inaccessible or completely wiped out, and iPhone users are left wondering what they can do to recover all their lost info.
Stat fact: From 2011 to 2015, Black people (68%) outranked white (66%) and Hispanic (64%) people for smartphone ownership. Between 2016 to 2021, all three groups stayed fairly close—with white and Hispanic people tying at 85% and black people at 83%. (Source: Statista)
Avoiding iPhone theft: First steps
Memorizing or accessing the 28-digit code isn’t what iPhone users have to worry about. It’s overly observant onlookers checking out the four- and six-digit codes that are the problem. Once they can access that, turn off the location and change the recovery key, Apple Pay shopping does all the damage.
So how can iPhone users avoid being the next victim?
Make sure a recovery key is set up in the first place, and store the number in a safe place (or online space).
Change the recovery key as soon as the iPhone comes up missing instead of spending countless hours on the phone with Customer Service. (Go to your Apple ID account page. Sign in with your password on another secure device. In the Security section, click Edit > Replace Lost Key.)
Avoid getting an attitude with Apple Customer Service reps. That won’t resolve the issue. Without authorized authentication, they are not allowed to let you into the account. For all they know, you are the thief trying to steal someone else’s iPhone.
Update any contact info that is still accessible without the recovery key. For example, Google has the option to change the password via a recovery email or alternate phone number. While Google also has the “Yes, it’s me” option that will pop up on the screen of the stolen phone, if you move quickly, you can change your password without it.
If these sound like obvious answers, answer the following questions. Can you find your recovery key in a hidden place without standing up right now? Do you know how many people know your password? When was the last time you changed your password? Do you even know your passwords? If you can’t confidently answer those questions, fix this before you read on for the reason you need multiple phones.