Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft

By Christine J. Flores, CBA

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a 100% fan of technology, especially when it comes to what I do on my phone.  I feel much safer knowing I can call AAA for road service when I need it, and I can’t get around sometimes without the help of Google Maps.  And no, I don’t want to go back to typing on an IBM Selectric Typewriter – though I’m confident I could if I had to!  But I don’t use shopping apps on my phone and I don’t use mobile banking. 

I recently came across an article in my newsfeed that contained a Wall Street Journal reporter’s interview of a convicted iPhone thief.  This individual stole hundreds of iPhones and looted the life savings of many, all by tapping into an iPhone.  He would then proceed to use an individual’s Apple Pay, for example, to purchase high-end items, including iPads and other devices for resale. 

It seems that many people are more trusting than I am when it comes to their devices.  This young man would meet people in a club or other public place and strike up a conversation.  When it came time to exchange contact information, surprisingly these individuals would hand over their phone to allow this new friend to enter his contact information.  In the process of this exchange, he would ask for the passcode, saying the phone was locked, and then change the password and other settings, apparently even before stealing the phone.  Now your first thought might be, I’d never be so trusting as to give my passcode to anyone.  However, an equally effective method is for someone to videotape an unsuspecting individual as they unlock their phone in a public place.  It makes me wonder if I need to be playing Words with Friends during my BART commute.  A paperback seems to be a much safer bet.

If you’re curious about this young man’s method, and for some ideas on how to protect yourself against this type of crime, please follow the link before which should lead you to the interview.


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