Last Friday, I was having lunch when suddenly without warning or even a clue my husbands’ phone was snatched. At the moment it happened, we assumed it was a prank until the perpetrator got into a car. Just like that, my husbands’ phone and wallet were gone.
Now, with an iPhone, you can track the phone via the Find My Phone app so it’s really important that you activate this setting. However, shortly afterward the phone was switched off.
In the midst of calling to cancel cards and banking apps, a link was sent to my device and to the family emergency contacts as well. In that panicked state of mind, I didn’t really pay attention and that was my biggest mistake.
I clicked and accessed the link, it seemed kosher as it was from Apple informing that the phone was switched on. The prompts requested me to enter the screen lock password, which I did and in seconds all the data was erased from my phone.
After further investigation, I found that the link is, in fact, a hackers link! So, if you ever have your phone stolen never ever click on a link sent to other devices that are linked to it. Secondly, I was told by a few banks that the link is also a hack to get into banking apps as the front screen lock is favoured as the password for other apps. In the last month, there were various cases whereby people had their bank accounts emptied out.
Here are some tips on how to safeguard yourself.
1. Report stolen cards, if no card was stolen call and block your app on your phone via the bank’s fraud prevention.
2. Don’t ever click on links, rather use the app on your spouse’s phone to track.
3. Report it via police station, this is a must in case your phone is used in the future for a crime. Report the card to your service provider.
4. If your ID documents or license was taken as well, you need to apply for a new one as soon as possible and report stolen items on the website; South Africa fraud Prevention site. Click here to access the site.
5. If you have sensitive information on the phone the best is to wait before you reset a phone to factory settings. This will make the phone almost "brand-new." A locked phone cannot be hacked especially, iPhones unless you share your passwords.
6. Change your cloud passwords, bank apps, anything, and everything ASAP.
Criminals work in groups and within minutes you may lose more than a phone.