Home Health Why you shouldn’t reply to iPhone thieves, says an engineer – Liku

Why you shouldn’t reply to iPhone thieves, says an engineer – Liku

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Why you shouldn’t reply to iPhone thieves, says an engineer – Liku

An engineer has revealed why you should never reply to mandatory messages after your iPhone is stolen.

Hardware engineer and comedian Paris Campbell posted a viral response to iPhone theft victim Stella Kim on TikTok, amassing nearly 4 million in less than a day.

After the phone was stolen, Kim displayed text messages from an unknown email address. Sources say her phone has been “jailbroken” and that if she doesn’t remove the device from her Apple ID, her personal data will be sold on the black market.

Campbell told Weekly newspaper In her engineering work, she sees theft victims receive messages like this “every day”. They are also often threatened.

“This information robs people of their emotions by giving them the impression that they have access to personal items like photos, even when they don’t actually have it,” Campbell said. “A lot of people don’t think about it and just think about the data they want to lose, or I don’t want it to fall into the wrong hands.”

An engineer has revealed why you should never reply to mandatory messages after your iPhone is stolen. An iPhone on display at an Apple store in Corte Madera, California, in January 2022.
Justin Sullivan/Staff/Getty Images North America

“Number one, don’t remove the device,” she warned on TikTok.

“The only reason these people are contacting you now is because your phone is practically useless to them,” she continued. “You are the only one who can save them, and I advise you not to.”

Campbell explained, “Every time the iPhone is signed into an Apple ID in settings, it’s locked to that Apple ID account. Then suppose someone plugs that phone into a computer, tries to wipe it, removes everything from it, tries to set it up again – It will take forever to a page that says ‘Activation Lock’ and will ask for your Apple ID email and password, or there’s a little thing at the bottom that says ‘Bypass with old device passcode'”

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That means the person holding Kim’s phone had wiped the device and tried to prepare it for resale, but realized it had been activated, Campbell said. They need the previous owner to unlock the phone to resell it.

“They try to contact you by threatening you, lying to you, telling you they have information they don’t have,” she said. “They do this to scare you into logging into your ‘Find My’ and removing the device, because then they can wipe it again and the ‘Activation Lock’ screen won’t appear.”

Campbell said thieves can’t sell phones for profit without the help of their owners. They can only take it apart and sell the parts.

“You can rest assured that they don’t actually have any information about you,” she added.

A 2014 survey by security firm Lookout found that one in 10 U.S. smartphone owners was the victim of a phone theft, with most never getting their devices back. About 50% of victims said they would likely pay $500 to get back their stolen phone’s data, while 68% said they’d be willing to risk the risk of getting their stolen device back.

Apple’s Activation Lock feature, introduced in September 2013, led to a significant drop in iPhone thefts in major cities. In the 12 months after the security feature was implemented, the number of stolen iPhones dropped 40 percent in San Francisco and 25 percent in New York, Reuters reported.

In 2020, during demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, multiple Apple stores were stolen, but the locking feature appeared to prevent stolen iPhones from being used again. Images of the looted iPhone circulated online with a message that read: “This device has been disabled and is being tracked. Local authorities will be alerted.”

Campbell’s video is filled with grateful responses from Apple consumers.

“You are doing God’s work, thank you [you]’ said one comment.

“As someone who’s had their phone stolen before (like almost everyone does, lol), this is very useful. Thanks for sharing,” agreed another viewer.

Updated August 9, 2022, 5:08pm ET: This story has been updated with a verified video of the event.

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