What Do Thieves Do With Stolen iPhones?

Thieves usually sell stolen iPhones on the black market or trade them. They may bypass security features, unlock, and factory-reset devices to make them untraceable. Alternatively, they may dismantle phones to sell valuable components like screens, batteries, or internal hardware separately.

When your  iPhone is snatched from your hands or swiped from your bag, the feeling of loss and vulnerability is undeniable. However there are certain initiatives you can take to safeguard your loss. Follow along to learn things you may do when an iPhone has been stolen.

8 Possible Things Thieves Do With Stolen iPhones

We’ve already pointed out things thieves do with your iPhone. Now, let’s explore those shadowy activities in detail. Hopefully you’ll get some idea why you need to act quickly when the phone is snatched or lost-

#1- Erase All Data From The Device

The first thing a thief can do after stealing your iPhone is erase all the data from the device.

To resell the stolen phone, they wipe up all the data, photos, and information from the device.

Thieves use a variety of methods to completely clean the phone and con the buyer into buying the stolen phone as brand-new and unlocked.

Since the owner reports or lists the phone as stolen or lost, they typically sell the phone as soon as possible to avoid further trouble. Thus, try to make the phone appear clean.

#2- Sell iPhone Parts

After stealing an iPhone, thieves look for individuals who will pay cash for it. But nowadays, most people know that stolen iPhones are nothing but a brick with a tracker inside it, so they are reluctant to buy them.

But the thieves have an alternative way! Instead of the hassle of selling the phone, they break the device and sell the usable parts.

Many iPhone repair shops buy those parts in cash without asking any questions. Thus, that can be the end of your device disappearing permanently!

#3- Making Unauthorized Payment

When they succeed in accessing your personal information after stealing your iPhone, they can make unauthorized payments or purchases using your digital wallet, like Apple Pay.

Most iPhone users make the common error of using the same passwords across all online shopping apps or forgetting their passwords. These behaviors give thieves a free pass to cause unintended financial losses for you.

#4- Get A Replacement iPhone

Recently, thieves have been using the method of replacement with recurrence. Here they break the stolen iPhone on purpose, like breaking the screen, using the ID number on the Sim tray & asking AppleCare or another business partner to replace it.

Even though this approach does not always work, it is doable if the user in question has an AppleCare+ affiliate.

Because they can exchange the device under the Express Replacement ServiceOpens in a new tab., where you do not need to send your phone in advance. All it can be is a success if they have all your personal data to activate the service.

#5- Talk To Siri To Control Over

If Siri is totally enabled on your iPhone, thieves can use it even when your phone is locked.

That means the thieves can converse with Siri, asking questions that yield personal information like your name and address or making general calls about upcoming events.

Talk To Siri To Control Over

#6- Blackmail Attempt

We keep a lot of private information on our iPhones that we never want to share. Thieves who steal iPhones look for clever ways to access all the personal data and information on the device, including banking and investment information.

Your photos, passwords, emails, social media accounts, and passwords are like jackpots to them. Scammers can use that data to blackmail you.

Scammers can use many types of online data recovery software to retrieve data to accomplish that shady motive.

#7- Malware scams [Phishing Emails & Texts]

Following the theft of your iPhone, the scammers attempt to send phishing emails and text messages. You might receive alarming messages from Apple or Apple Security after your iPhone is stolen, such as “Your Apple account is locked. Complete the restore process,” or similar large-scale messages.

Be aware of these phishing texts and emails, as they are never from Apple or law enforcement. It is common for thieves or scammers to get full access to your stolen iPhone.

So never reveal your Apple log to anyone. Never click if you receive any messages containing doubtful links.

Another good way to recognize whether the message is from Apple is to see the grammar & spelling mistakes in the texts.

#8- Doing Crimes

When your iPhone is stolen, the thieves can use the device to commit crimes like accessing bank accounts.

Folha de S. PauloOpens in a new tab., which is a Brazilian newspaper, reported that iPhone thieves in Brazil used the stolen iPhones to access the bank accounts of their real owners instead of reselling them.

The criminals specialize in the theft of iPhones and unlocking them. Surprisingly, the process is much simpler to think about!

Police Chief Fabiano Barbeiro reported how they used stolen iPhones to accomplish the crime, like accessing bank accounts.

What To Do When Your iPhone Is Stolen?

When your iPhone is stolen, you should file a police report. There are still some options available to you in this situation besides calling the police, as Apple advises.

#1- Look For The iPhone On The Map

When your iPhone is stolen, try to find it by signing in to iCloud.com/findOpens in a new tab.. You can also use the Find My Phone app on the other phone that you can use to do the task.

If you can’t locate your device on the map, that means that the app is not turned on. But do not be worried; you can still find your iPhone even if the Find My is turned offOpens in a new tab. on your device. Apple is there to help you out.

Look For The iPhone On The Map

#2- Mark Your Device As Lost

When your iPhone is stolen, you should mark your device as lostOpens in a new tab.. By doing so, you can remotely lock your iPhone with a passcode to keep the information secure.

By marking your phone as lost, you can disable your phone’s Apple Pay. You can also show a custom message on the missing device if you want.

Mark Your Device As Lost

#3- Contact Your Wireless Carrier

You should contact your wireless carrier if your stolen iPhone is cellular. You can ask the carrier to disable your device from texting, calling, and data use. You can file a claim if your device is covered by a wireless carrier plan.

#4- Remove The Stolen Device From The Account

In case your stolen device has AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss, you should not remove the device from Apple ID or the Find My app until you get approval of the claim. 

Go to applied.Apple.comOpens in a new tab. to remove your iPhone from the trusted device list.

What Can You Do To Secure Your iPhone From Criminals?

What Can You Do To Secure Your iPhone From The Criminals

According to the FCCOpens in a new tab. or Federal Communications Commission, in America, 1 in 10 smartphone owners are the victims of phone theft, and among them, 68% are unable to recover their lost one.

So, you sure don’t want to face the risk again. Here is how you can secure your information on your iPhone against criminals, because it is better to be early than sorry later.

  • Set auto-lock in your iPhone & use strong passcode or biometric id. It can make it potentially hard for thieves to access your data.
  • Keep a note of the IMEI number or the serial number of your iPhone. It will be a great help in reporting a missing file.
  • When your device is lost or stolen, activate the Find My feature on your device to find your device or erase the data.
  • You can lock your sim card with a pin code so that the thieves cannot use the sim in the other smartphones.
  • Try not to save the passwords on Google Chrome or Safari.
  • You can use the authenticator app to have a 2FA code instead of an SMS. Scammers will find it hard to bypass the 2FA code.
  • Regularly backup your phone so that you can always have access to your mobile information. Because in any case, if you have to erase your phone, you really don’t have to lose everything.
  • The last but most crucial point is to keep your phone in safe places. Do not keep your phone in the bag or the back pocket from where the pickpockets can snug it. 

Apple Is Making It Harder For Thieves In Making Money From The Stolen iPhones!

We all know that the iPhone has high status, and its resale value is higher than that of other electronics. That is why the iPhone is one of the main attractions for thieves looking for easy money.

But the good news is that Apple is making it difficult for thieves to make money from the stolen iPhone.

MacRumorsOpens in a new tab. has advised the Apple authorized service provider or Apple store technicians to check the GSMA Device RegistryOpens in a new tab. before working on the phones to ensure whether those phones are registered as missing or stolen.

If that iPhone is listed as stolen or missing, the technicians should refuse to work on it. According to MacRumors, it will deter the thieves from sending the stolen iPhones to Apple for repair.

Apart from this, the new policy of Apple, according to MacRumors, has added an additional step! It is that the Apple authorized service provider or the Apple store is not allowed to repair the phones of customers who cannot disable the “Find My iPhone” function.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

We tried our utmost to cover relevant facts about what thieves can do with stolen iPhones in this blog. These frequently searched queries might help you learn more about the topic.

Can a thief use a stolen iPhone in another country?

An iPhone will function in another country even though it is locally blacklisted in the provider’s country. The thieves benefit because they can use the phone in another nation without even being placed on a blacklist.

Does Apple blacklist all stolen iPhones?

Apple does not blacklist iPhones because they do not handle stolen devices. Blacklisting the stolen or lost iPhones is totally up to the carriers like Verizon or AT&T. The carriers identify the device through the IMEI number. 

Can I track an iPhone even if it is offline?

You can use Find My iPhone to track your iPhone and see it on the map. It will play sound if you are online while tracking your phone. When you are online, you can still see your phone on the map, but it will not make a sound.

Can you track an iPhone after a factory reset?

Yeah, you can track an iPhone after a factory reset. You can use iCloud to find your phone even if its power is off or it has been erased. You can also use the iCloud website for this purpose.

Can police track an iPhone if the location is off?

The police can still track an iPhone even if the location is off. They can collect the whereabouts through the IP address, Bluetooth signals, or Wi-Fi. Of course, the IMEI number is another way the police can track an iPhone.

Final Thoughts

The more technology improves, the more scammers find new ways to scam people to accomplish their shady motives. Thus, the list of possibilities goes on!

That is why it is always better to be careful before facing it. Be cautious in public places. Add security to your iPhone to protect your information, and have backups on the iCloud so that, unluckily, if you get stolen, you can wipe all the data from the phone and have an automatic backup.

Do not fall victim to the phishing messages and emails of the scammers, and learn to recognize them when your iPhone gets stolen or even before it.

Mohammad Tarekul Islam

Hi there! This is Tarekul Islam and I oversee all the blog posts published on Techiaid, craft them to reader demands, and ensure you, as a reader, get your questions answered the best way possible. As somewhat of a tech geek myself, I often find it surprising how rapidly Apple has evolved into one of the best tech companies. And I'm more than happy to help you out if you're facing any issues with your Apple device.

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