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Good Samaritan smartphone scam is pretty sneaky

When you head out for an evening with friends and family, it’s easy to get distracted and misplace your phone. That’s why using apps like Find My iPhone come in real handy.

If your phone is missing, you can log in from your computer or a friend’s phone to try and locate yours. You can even put a message on the lock screen for whoever may find it, or erase all your data if you fear it’s really gone.

But there is a new scam starting to pop up that you need to know about.

Good Samaritan smartphone scam

It starts off like this, you are out at a bar chatting with your friends. Someone may bump into you, or you just aren’t paying close attention and the next thing you know, your phone is missing.

The next morning you call your phone seeing if someone found it, and sure enough, someone answers! Phew! The person on the other end claims to be a helpful employee at the bar you were at last night.

They say they have your phone, but to make sure it’s really yours and not some thief, they ask you for your passcode to make sure. But in reality, you just gave the real thief the keys to your digital world!

Uh oh.

What they can take from you

So that nice “employee” now can access everything on your phone. First, they go in and change your password so you can’t stop them. Next, they are hoping you have apps like Venmo or PayPal.

If you do, they start transferring money to themselves from your bank accounts. While this is happening, there isn’t much you can do to stop it since they have your phone and changed the password.

And thieves are quick, in just a few minutes they could drain your whole account.

How to protect yourself

This almost goes without saying, passcode protect your phone.

The next thing to remember is to never give someone your passcode, even if it’s someone trying to verify it’s really your phone. Always ask questions, if you aren’t giving a scammer what they want, many times they will start getting hostile.

And ask yourself, why would a real bar employee get short with me over a found phone? They wouldn’t.

Set up your phone with apps like Find My iPhone that allow you to wipe your data remotely so they can’t use it. You should also deactivate any payment accounts you have tied to your phone immediately.

Now the final step is to make sure you report this to police, the bar you were at, and with your banks to make sure you have a record of the incident. Hopefully, your bank can get your money back, but nothing is guaranteed.

Best app to manage your money

Whether you’re paying off debt, or saving for retirement, it’s a good idea to come up with a budget. Having a well-organized budget is critical to financial freedom. Here is a free app to help you manage yours.

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