IPHONE owners are being alerted of a new trick that can see them locked out of their Apple account forever.
Most Apple accounts hold years worth of priceless photos, videos and messages- so having access to it suddenly cut off can be devastating.
Most iPhone owners keep their precious data behind a simple four or six digit code.
But with this short string of numbers alone, criminals can change an Apple account's password by accessing the recovery key.
This is exactly what happened to 46-year-old Greg Frasca, from Florida, in the US.
After pickpockets tried to steal his iPhone 14 Pro at a bar in Chicago, in a bid to drain cash from his bank account, Frasca has been locked out of his Apple ID.
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The thieves used his passcode to change his Apple ID password, and also enabled a hard-to-find Apple security setting known as the recovery key.
In doing so, they placed an 'impenetrable lock' on his account, according to the Wall Street Journal.
When something like this happens, most people are able to get their money back.
But it's Apple's strict policies around account security that has people stumped.
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There is little you can do once a fraudster uses your recovery key.
Recovery keys, introduced in 2020, are randomly generated 28-character codes that are used to help you regain access to your Apple ID.
Apple's website warns that losing access to your recovery key means that "you could be locked out of your account permanently."
Frasca told the Journal that he has offered to fly from Florida to Apple's headquarters in California to prove his identity in person, or even write a check for an eyewatering $10,000 to reclaim the account.
This is because his Apple account holds the only photographs of his young daughters over the past eight years.
In a statement, Apple said it is always trying to figure out ways to keep people protected against threats such as these.
"We sympathize with people who have had this experience and we take all attacks on our users very seriously, no matter how rare," an Apple spokesperson said.
"We work tirelessly every day to protect our users' accounts and data, and are always investigating additional protections against emerging threats like this one."
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