Using iOS 7, protect yourself – iPhone scam: PayPal, Ebay, Craigslist

A new feature in iOS 7 can stop an iPhone thief or scammer right in their tracks. With this new security enhancement, if your iPhone is ever lost or stolen, it’s true: you may never see your iPhone again, but you can make sure that no one else will ever be able to use it as well.

The Story

We recently had a customer contact us about being scammed after selling an iPhone on eBay. The iPhone was shipped overseas and, due to the size of the package, the post office changed the shipping class from Priority to First Class International. The customer wasn’t aware that once the package left the country, tracking was not available due to the shipping class change.

30 days had passed and the buyer was claiming that he never received the iPhone, opening a claim with PayPal. Our customer contacted AT&T, the original network provider. After being told that the iPhone was indeed unlocked 6 days earlier, AT&T blacklisted the iPhone.

However, blacklisting normally only blocks the use of the iPhone in the country in which it is blacklisted. It’s possible that it could still be used in another country. Check out this StockUnlocks blog entry regarding blacklisting.

Tip: The iOS 7 Solution

If you’ve recently updated to iOS 7, you should have received this message from Apple:

Congratulations on your update to iOS 7. As an iCloud user, part of your upgrade includes new features built into Find My iPhone that make it harder for anyone else to use or sell your device if it is ever lost or stolen.

With Find My iPhone turned on in iOS 7, your Apple ID and password will always be required before anyone can:

  • Turn off Find My iPhone on your device.
  • Erase your device.
  • Reactivate and use your device.

How does this help someone selling their iPhone? You would never knowingly leave your Apple ID information in your iPhone when selling it. Normally you would erase the iPhone, wiping it clean before selling it.

How to Protect Yourself

When selling your iPhone, here are some steps to protect yourself from potential thieves or scammers:

  1. Wipe your iPhone clean, by erasing it as usual. Here are the steps: ‘Erase All Content and Settings’
  2. Create a new Apple ID and register the iPhone with it.
  3. Set up the iPhone so that it may still be used: no lock screen, etc.
  4. Mail/Ship or sell the iPhone.
  5. Once you’re satisfied with the transaction, provide the buyer with the new Apple ID info in order to erase the device.
  6. When shipping the iPhone: If for any reason you get scammed, just remotely wipe and lock the iPhone, making it useless. You can even put a little message on the screen.

Keep in mind that you will still be able to track the iPhone with Find My iPhone using the new Apple ID, if necessary. This will be possible if the user connects the iPhone to the internet or has an active data connection, the reason for step #3 above.

When Shipping Locally or Internationally

What can you do to prove that the iPhone was received if you don’t have a shipping confirmation?

If you know how to obtain the IMEI number, you can try one of the following to retrieve information regarding its new location, after the “buyer” activates it. This might help with a PayPal dispute:

Hopefully, you will never have to experience losing your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad by accident to a thief, or a scammer using PayPal, Ebay, Craigslist or any other service. But it’s nice to know that you can maintain a measure of control over the situation with iOS 7.

Take care,

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