Bad news folks: iPhone thefts are on the rise. Not only that, but a new report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) suggests thieves are using Apple’s recovery key system to lock users out of their Apple accounts for good.

In particular, astute criminals generate new 28-character recovery codes – after gaining access to stolen iPhones by spying on lock screen passwords – to hijack users’ Apple IDs. According to Apple’s security guidelines, generating a new recovery key means you “may be permanently locked out of your account,” and thieves use the vulnerability to stack purchases on stolen iPhones while users try to cancel their bank cards.

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