How stolen iPhones and iPads travel to other countries
Sprint helps federal authorities go after lucrative electronics fencing rings that buy stolen, robbed, and fraudulently obtained phones and resell them internationally.
Apple added “Find My iPhone” in 2010, which helped recovered many stolen iPhones. Last year, U.S. phone carriers started making it harder to resell stolen or robbed phones by starting to implement a national blacklist of stolen devices. The result? The devices are now being trafficked internationally, with the help of unscrupulous businesses.
Inside The Massive Global Black Market For Smartphones, by Huffington Post:
“Before a federal SWAT team descended last summer, one storefront in a Detroit suburb attracted so many people bearing shopping bags stuffed with iPhones and iPads that managers installed a port-a-potty on the sidewalk.
Once inside, people deposited their electronic wares into a rotating drawer below a bulletproof glass window and waited for the cashier to deliver stacks of cash.
So much money changed hands in this fashion at the Ace Wholesale storefront in Taylor, Mich., that an armored truck arrived each morning to deliver fresh bundles of cash, according to an undercover investigator for the wireless company Sprint and an employee at the Mattress World outlet next door.”
Traffickers of stolen electronic goods then sell them internationally getting up to $2000 for an iPhone in some markets. Here’s a short YouTube rip of video by WXYZ Detroit about the raid on Ace Wholesale:
One person who sells to the phone traffickers describes to Huff Post that business is brisk:
“I make more money than the dope man, but have none of the risk.”
With iOS 7 – scheduled to be released this Fall, Apple is adding three additional features to further curb iPhone thefts:
- Turning off Find My iPhone or erasing your device requires your Apple ID and password.
- Find My iPhone can also continue to display a custom message, even after your device is erased.
- Apple ID and password are required before anyone can reactivate it.
Hopefully Samsung phone using thieves will think twice before stealing iPhones in the future.