/ Technology

Scam watch: would you fall for the lost iPhone scam?

iPhone scam

When a Which? member lost her iPhone, she used the Find My iPhone app to try to locate it. And that’s when she received a very convincing phishing message. Apple confirmed it was a fake email, but would you think to check its authenticity first?

Member Sarah Donaldson told us:

‘My iPhone was stolen recently. Shortly after disabling it with the ‘Find My iPhone’ app, I received a convincing email claiming it had been found. The email correctly listed the model and colour of my phone. It also named the location where it had been discovered, which was near my home. This looked like a genuine Apple email, and the domain was icloud.com. It prompts you to click a link to find the exact location of the phone. I logged onto a live chat with Apple staff, who confirmed this was a phishing message. I’ve since had several similar messages.’

Phishing email

It was extremely unlucky for Sarah’s phone to be found by someone both dishonest and intelligent enough to engineer such a sophisticated phishing attempt.

If she’d clicked the link in this email, it would have prompted her to enter her Apple ID and password.

With these, scammers can access all of the associated personal data, including your payment details. They’d also be able to unlock your phone and sell it as a working device.

If you receive emails like this forward them to reportphishing@apple.com.

Phone finder

The ‘Find My iPhone’ app will boost the chances of your phone being returned, if it’s found by an honest person. It can prevent it from being used by whoever discovers it, and there’s an option to display your contact details on the screen. Unfortunately, these details can open the door for criminals to swindle you a second time with a phishing scam.

Have you fallen for the Find My iPhone phishing email? What happened?


I presume that the phishing email scam is like the scam calls about your recent car accident. At any one time there will be people who have had the problem and may be more receptive to scamming than usual.

It’s worth using Find My iPhone when your Apple phone or other mobile device is not lost – just to see how it works. I have done this and also shown friends how to use this simple and effective service.

That’s an excellent point. I suspect many don’t ever try the options on their technology, simply because they assume it’ll be there when they need it. But in reality every system you have on an iPhone should be tried and tested.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Another is “http://www.imyfone dot com”. The key thing when you realise you have been hacked in the Apple environment, is acting quickly outside the Apple environment to change passwords, contact card providers, banks etc. And basically monitor over 6 month period or more what damage has been done in terms of id theft.
NB I wrote dot to prevent a link forming

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My home is an Apple-free zone; and long may it be so.