05-09-2012 1:19 PM - last edited on 05-09-2012 6:36 PM by ShaunMN
I have just had my iPhone 4S stolen from me...Not just stolen, as in "carelessly laying around", but pick-pocketed from me after I was watched using it in public, then followed and pick-pocketed out of my zippered purse which was under my arm. The last time anything like this has happened to me, was overseas. These people are experts and you don't even know it has happened until it's too late.
I had added insurance ($6.99/month--only allowed to be added to your account within the first 30 days of the purchase or upgrade to your new phone), via the pop-up window online through "Manage My Features" the day I received my phone.
After I discovered my phone was stolen, I immediately called AT&T who said I did not have insurance on my iPhone. I said, "Surely you must be mistaken. I added through the website the day I received my phone. I have been with AT&T for years (owning a Blackberry Bold & Torch in the past) and always carrying insurance on all of my phones." Her reply was, "Sorry, Ma'am, we are trying to prevent fraud." [BY THE WAY---You are insane if you do not carry $6.99/month on a valued $650 iPhone 4S. You can cancel at any time (i.e. when the 4S value goes down), but you can only add within the first 30 days.]
After this rep made me feel like a lowlife and truly insulted after being such a loyal customer, I lost two more nights of sleep over it, and then tried again to rectify my horrible situation. Finally, a supervisor helped me and I was able to pay the deductible (another fresh $200) and get a new replacement iPhone 4S.
Before you say I should have done more, here are the all of the steps I took to protect myself:
- I had a password lock on my screen that activated the phone’s screen lock every 5 minutes of no activity.
- I had registered it with iCloud
- I have a police report
- I have the serial number
- I have the IMEI number
The third-party insurance company is not interested in any of the above, and frankly, neither was AT&T. After reading the previous posts, no one mentioned that the carriers make MONEY all the way around on the iPhone stealing industry. SIM card or no SIM card.it doesn’t matter. (BTW the 4S only has a built-in SIM card). Whether it's a replaced phone (the deductible goes up $100 per new replacement phone on the 4S, i.e. 1st replacement $200, 2nd $300, etc.), or a stolen or purchased used, it's a new contract to activate, and more money for the wireless carriers. So why would they be helpful in helping you find your phone or blacklist the IMEI #? It is SOLELY up to you, the owner, to fend for yourself until this becomes law.
My post is to try to help the next victim not feel so disgusting (as I have) when their phone is stolen....Here are the results of my NEW preventative measures for the iPhone 4S:
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE INSURANCE (within the first 30 days of purchase). Thank you to the AT&T Supervisor who finally helped and listened to my issue: I explained, the AT&T website's "Manage Features" Insurance pop-up to add insurance to your account, is FLAWED. Not only had I added this insurance 3 times and thought I was fine, but I never received an Email Confirmation saying it had been added to my account--and I NEVER KNEW I WAS SUPPOSED TO RECEIVE an email confirmation. The website doesn’t tell you to call if you do not receive it. This is the ONLY way you can prove you have insurance! ONLY ADD INSURANCE BY CALLING and then ASK THE REP TO SEND YOU AN EMAIL CONFIRMATION. This is a vital as your serial & IMEI #’s. (Without insurance, you must pay the full amount of the phone $650 (as of April 2012), and you can kiss your upgrade eligibility goodbye and you're locked into AT&T for 2 years with no new phone.)
Register your phone with iCloud online at www.icloud.com. Remember, the registration is not complete until you verify it on your iPhone. Go to Settings>iCloud>and enter your Apple ID (you must already have an Apple ID---through iTunes with a credit card on file) and your password. NOTE: If you already have an iCloud account (I’ve had one since Mobile Me was in existence--which it is no longer), you MUST CREATE A NEW APPLE ID on your iPhone in order for iCloud to activate your new iPhone. The rep said my already existing account DID NOT RECOGNIZE my new iPhone with my old Apple ID. Don’t worry, though, even though you have a new Apple ID, you can still use your other Apple ID with no problems.
Double-check that your phone can now be located by going back to www.icloud.com on your computer, sign in and go to "Find my iPhone". It will instantly be seen on the map.
Although my stolen iPhone had been registered with iCloud, that WAS NOT ENOUGH!! Immediately after my phone was stolen, when I went to iCloud to find it, iCloud still had my phone listed but could not detect it, saying it was "Offline". (It then remained offline since it was stolen--I checked back every chance I could.) The Apple rep I spoke with said that the phone MUST HAVE Wi-Fi activated and be in a Wi-Fi area, in order to be detected as "online".
The good news: There is a feature with the new iPhone 4S that once you activate your iPhone with iCloud or any other GPS app, you can lock the Wi-Fi setting! YOU MUST LOCK THE GPS IN ORDER FOR YOUR PHONE TO BE FOUND, (as thieves can turn the Wi-Fi off)!!
Go to Settings>General>Restrictions>(Enter a 4-digit Passcode)>Enable Restrictions>Scroll down to "Allow Changes:" and select LOCATION>(Make sure Location Services Box underneath is set to "ON") then select "DON'T ALLOW CHANGES"
(You can also "Don't Allow Changes" to your Accounts here too.)
You will know you have SET THIS LOCK PROPERLY if, under Settings>Location Services> everything is GREYED out under Location Services AS WELL AS under Settings, your iCloud is also greyed out) and these settings cannot be changed. (Might be a good time to print this message out so in case you need to change these settings, you know how to get back to your Restriction Page to UNLOCK this feature.)
Back up all of your iPhone info & data via iCloud automatically. Once you create an iCloud account on your computer through www.icloud.com, you can set your iPhone to automatically backup of your iPhone under Settings>iCloud> (scroll to bottom) Storage & Backup>Backup> Select iCloud) under your new Apple ID and password. BTW, this is ALSO where you must logon to WIPE YOUR DATA if your phone is detected on this map after it has been stolen!
I highly recommend you ALSO use a basic screen lock on your iPhone 4S. Go to Settings>General>Passcode Lock. You can choose between a "Simple Passcode” (a 4-digit #) or a long word of your choosing, as well as the time until it locks the screen. I realize this is painstaking to enter every single time you go to use your phone after a certain time, but it is the ONLY THING that will safeguard your information until you can get to a computer to wipe your device!! The Apple rep told me that if the code is entered incorrectly 10 times, the iPhone will automatically lock and on the 11th time, will automatically WIPE YOUR DATA. So...at LEAST your privacy will remain intact.
I ALSO highly recommend the cheap-as-heck "FoneHome" app. The website is www.MYFONEHOME.com (the fonehome.com is NOT the correct website.) This nifty app is another GPS app that can also be linked to Google Latitude if you prefer or you can find your phone through another device or computer by logging onto www.myfonehome.com or into Google Latitude. Once your Latitude account is linked, every time your device sends an update to their server, they also forward it to your Latitude.
Finally, my personal disclaimer…….
I do not work for AT&T nor do I work for Apple, but my hard earned money is spent on their products. Neither company offers what I have spent painful HOURS and sleepless nights researching since I was a victim of my phone being stolen.
If I can help ONE person with the info I have posted here, then the $250 (with taxes, etc.) I spent on my first iPhone 4S will be redeemed. Even though I did not LOCK my GPS (which has prevented iCloud or any GPS app from finding it), if someone who reads this does, and is able to get their phone back, I have helped the “good guys”.
[NOTE: I do NOT know what rights we have once you are able to locate your stolen phone, but I heard you may be able to report the exact location to the police and if they examine the serial number as yours, you may be able to clam it, etc.--but I have not verified this because I didn’t find my phone.]
We may not be able to stop the bad people, but we can do everything in our personal power to make it a pain in their [word filter avoidance] to get away with it and keep our information & data secure.
Good luck out there and always watch your back!
05-09-2012 6:24 PM
Good info, StephanyMusic
If you're a homeower check your insurance policy and see if you can add a cheap rider to cover personal electronics, that may be cheaper/have a lower deductible.
Always use a lock, if you have any personal info on your device.
If it's lost/stolen, try to do a find my iphone, and if found remote wipe it. Even if not found issue the remote wipe command.
Other than that, pretty much if it's gone, it's gone. If you locate it, don't risk your life trying to get the phone back - it's not worth it. Remote wipe, move on.
05-10-2012 6:39 AM
First, the insurance is a ripoff. As JohninSJ said, an electronics rider on your homeowner's/renter's insurance will be cheaper and provide better coverage.
The Apple rep was wrong. Find my iPhone works whether you're on a cellular or wi-fi connection. I just tested it with my iPhone, with wi-fi off, sitting next to me. The thieves, however, are aware of this, so they immediately power the phone down, ditch the SIM card, reset the phone, and then re-use it/sell it/etc. The info about using restrictions to lock your location and accounts is good to know, although it won't stop a thief from performing a hard reset on the phone.
If you have some record of the phone's IMEI/serial number, etc., and you know the location of the phone, the police can retrieve it for you if the phone has been reported stolen. It doesn't really matter if the person in possession of it claims to have legally purchased it, as possession of stolen property is a crime in itself. That said, police in most municipalities aren't really going to bother with this.
It's unfortunate that you had to experience this. That must have been a skilled pickpocket to remove it from your purse. Might be time to research the schemes pickpockets use to distract your attention.