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The John Kobylt Show

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iPhone Stolen at Los Angeles Bar; Victim Receives Death Threats

A typical Friday evening turned nightmarish for Anthony Smiljkovich at The Bullet bar in North Hollywood when his iPhone was stolen. The unsettling incident revealed a larger issue when the bartender informed Anthony that six other patrons had also lost their phones that night.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, 1 in 10 smartphone owners fall victim to phone theft. Cybersecurity expert Steve Tcherchian emphasizes the severity of the issue, noting that a stolen phone can give thieves access to a victim's entire digital life, including bank accounts and social media.

After realizing his phone was gone, Anthony quickly contacted Apple and activated Lost Mode, which should have secured the device. However, after obtaining a replacement phone with the same number, he began receiving chilling death threats from the thieves. The messages included threats of violence and demands to relinquish the phone.

Tcherchian reassures victims that such threats are typically empty, intended to scare them into compliance. Anthony was able to track his stolen phone to Gardena before it ended up in China, a known hub for the black market in electronics where phones are often dismantled and reassembled for resale.

Tcherchian recommends enabling stolen device protection, activating two-factor authentication, and adjusting settings to require authentication for all actions to prevent phone theft. Anthony's experience is a stark reminder of the importance of securing personal devices and remaining vigilant in public spaces.

LAPD has also issued the following safety tips:

  • Keep your wallet and/or cellular phone in your front pocket to keep it close
  • If you’re going to be in a crowded setting, rap a rubber band around your wallet and/or cellular phone so it doesn’t slide out easily
  • Hide your wallet and/or cellular phone in a hidden or secret pocket if you have one
  • Avoid rummaging through your wallet to count money

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