Thieves use SIM cards to unlock stolen iPhones and access victims’ bank accounts

Police in Sao Paulo, Brazil have caught a gang of thieves who specialized in unlocking iPhones to access victims’ bank accounts. Although it is impossible to unlock an iPhone with the passcode or Apple ID’s password, the thieves devised an alternate route to unlock the smartphone by using its SIM card.


A gang of young thieves finds a way to unlock iPhones very easily

As reported by Folha De S.Paulo (spotted by 9to5Mac), Sao Paulo police carried a large operation when several victims reported emptied bank accounts after their iPhones were stolen. Luckily, the Deic ( Department of Criminal Investigations) cracked caught the gang which claims that its members can unlock all iPhones models: 5 to 11. *iPhone 12 had not launched in Brazil by November 2020 when the gang was arrested).

Chief of Police Fabiano Barbeiro explained that to unlock the device, the thief removed the SIM card from the stolen smartphone and inserted it into another unlocked iPhone. After, he searched the victim’s social network to find the associated email ID with that number to reset the victim’s Apple ID’s password.

Next, he re-inserts the SIM in the stolen smartphone and with the new password unlocks the iPhone and passes it to other members to access bank accounts to transfer the money.


The investigation has revealed that criminals have devised other ways to unlock iPhone via software manipulation, simply snatching a smartphone when in use and keeping it open by enabling camera mode and others.

To protect stolen smartphone data, users can enable ‘Lost Mode or erase data via the Find My app. Following the investigation, Apple and Google committed to the Brazilian agency that it will make it easier to erase data from a stolen smartphone but did not give detail on how that will be accomplished. However, on iOS 15 users will be able to devices that are turned off or erased.

Find My introduces new capabilities to help locate a device that has been turned off or erased, as well as live-streaming locations for family and friends who choose to share their location. Separation Alerts notify a user if they leave an AirTag, Apple device, or Find My network accessory behind in an unfamiliar location, and the Find My network now supports AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. A new Find My widget offers an at-a-glance view directly from the Home Screen. 

About the Author

Addicted to social media and in love with iPhone, started blogging as a hobby. And now it's my passion for every day is a new learning experience. Hopefully, manufacturers will continue to use innovative solutions and we will keep on letting you know about them.

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