Don’t remove a stolen iPhone from your Apple ID (do this instead)

Photo: XanderSt (Shutterstock)

Your iPhone has excellent anti-theft features that make it difficult for thieves to use the device. Even if someone erases your phone, they’ll still need your Apple ID and password to access it and disable “Find My,” which they’ll need to do if they ever want to sell it.

However, the information on your phone is not necessarily completely secure. Since Apple’s protections are strong enough to keep your data safe from prying eyes, scammers have decided to target the most vulnerable point in the system: you.

How does this scam work

Several people whose iPhones have been stolen have shared their experiences on Reddit. User u/navalsquat describes how the scam works: After losing possession of your phone, you are contacted by someone posing as a Good Samaritan. These scammers claim to be concerned about your privacy, saying they bought what now appears to be a stolen phone from Facebook Marketplace or a similar secondary market, and turned it on to find it’s stuffed with your personal data. They write to you to let you know and ask you to remove the device from your Apple ID, lest all that juicy data remain in the hands of a stranger. Isn’t that nice of them, you avoid worrying about your data. Everyone wins ! Or would be, if they weren’t just trying to get you to give them the phone for free and plain and simple.

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People who lose their phone are usually stressed and would like to do whatever it takes to get the iPhone back easily. When someone bombards you with text messages and claims that their actions could help you, you may be wrong and making a mistake. It is this reaction that the scammer lives. Removing your Apple ID from iPhone allows the scammer to unlock the iPhone for their own purposes or sell it to someone else.

If you ignore the message or avoid deleting the device from your Apple account, there is little the thief can do other than try to sell it to an unsuspecting buyer who doesn’t realize they are. buy a glorified paperweight.

In another version of the scam, you may receive text that appears to be from Apple, including a link that looks suspiciously like an Apple URL: (when spelled with a lowercase L, it looks like When you click on this link, the page corresponds almost exactly to the official Apple site. The moment you enter your credentials, however, the scammer gains access to your Apple ID.

How scammers find your details

If you’re wondering how someone finds your contact information after stealing your iPhone, the answer is simple. You can use Siri on any iPhone and ask, “Whose iPhone is this?” This shows your contact information to anyone with access to your device.

You can block this feature by disabling Siri when iPhone is locked, but it’s not worth the risk. Don’t forget that this is also the option that allows strangers to contact people in your address book if you have a medical emergency.

Moreover, scammers can also remove your SIM card and use it with another phone to find your phone number.

What to do if your iPhone is stolen or lost

Instead of paying attention to text messages from strangers, the first thing you choose to do if your phone goes missing is to mark it as lost. The easiest way to do this is to access the Find My app on any connected Apple device. If you don’t have access to another Apple device, go to, sign in to your Apple ID, and mark the device as lost.

On-screen steps will guide you through the process, and you can even leave a name and contact number for people to contact should they wish to return your device. Once it’s done, do do not remove your Apple ID or Lost Mode until your iPhone is returned to you and watch out for any suspicious or unexpected requests to sign in to a site using your Apple ID or remove devices from your Apple account.

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