How my new IPhone 5s was almost stolen before it even arrived
Some people called the new IPhone 5s "the security IPhone" due to its great advancements in security. The enhancements ranged from its much publicized fingerprint scanner to its inability to be reset and be erased without the original password to its great "Track my IPhone" features. Many dedicated Apple fans and people in the tech industry thought Apple was making a great leap forward in preventing IPhone theft. They were wrong.
My story starts at 3:01AM EST on Friday, September 20. When I immediately logged into Verizon and ordered the Space Gray IPhone 5s. I was long overdue for an upgrade, my outdated LG Android phone was on its last leg, and I thought I would finally try an IPhone. Due to my dedication and efficient ordering I was guaranteed my phone would ship by Tuesday, September 24. Nevertheless, the weekend felt like it was the week before Christmas. Where you see all the news about Christmas, you see all the ads about Christmas, everyone is talking about Christmas and you really want Christmas to just come already.
Well the good news came on Monday, September 23 when Verizon confirmed shipment and notified me that I would be receiving my phone by Wednesday, September 25 via FedEx. Wednesday came, and in the morning it was at the Airport receiving facility just miles from my house.
Now here is where the story goes array, I got home from work Wednesday afternoon expecting the FedEx to show up in the next few hours. He always comes in the late afternoon or early evening-its like clock work. He never showed.
I checked the shipping status to find that the package had been rerouted to a new address. I quickly called FedEx, they confirmed it was being rerouted to a new address and not mine, but they wouldn’t tell me where. Said that was Verizon’s issue. So I called Verizon. They immediately told me that no one had issued any orders on my account to change the shipping address and that I should be receiving the shipment. I said no, that’s not true. FedEx has it being shipped to another address. After hours of back and forth with Verizon reps and FedEx reps here is what I found out about my situation and the new way IPhones may be getting stolen.
My phone was redirected to a city 150 miles away, to an apartment building that appears rundown and vacated on Google maps.
FedEx only receives a first name of the person at Verizon who requests the change and a time stamp. They don’t readily log any other tracking information.
Verizon claims that no one accessed my account or made any changes to my account during the timeframe from when I ordered, to when the shipment error occurred.
In order for Verizon to make a change, a Verizon rep puts in an IT help ticket with the updated shipping information. Someone internally updates shipping information and that get’s blindly accepted and processed by FedEx.
Now it appears all you need is a tracking number and the know-how of how to update the FedEx shipping information as someone from Verizon would do it. Apparently, this information is widely available across the Verizon organization, as it seems like there were a lot of people in several different positions that could change the shipping information easily.
And that is exactly what happened to my order. Someone apparently got my tracking number, knew it was an unregistered and un-activated IPhone and had the Verizon or FedEx know-how of how to change the shipping address. So they did. They sent it to an empty apartment where they were probably expecting several others to show up as well. As one Verizon rep told my Fiancé, this problem happens quite often and is a known issue by Verizon.
After another couple of hours on the Phone with Verizon, a few hours of sleepless sleep, and a couple more hours of early morning phone calls. It was resolved. They were finally able to again redirect the shipment to me.
Until a couple hours later, when Verizon told me that their Fraud department had requested the shipment to be sent to them, and that I would not be refunded any money until the Fraud department received the phone. Then I could reorder the phone at that point and expect them to ship me another in early November.
This outcome leads me to believe that Verizon acknowledges my problem as some form of fraudulent activity. Especially after one for the manager reps told me how easy something like this would be to do in their systems. It appears IPhone stealers have upped their game, and left Verizon, FedEx, and the honest consumer in the dust.
Now as I track Verizon’s Facebook page it appears there are a large number of customers that have not received their IPhones yet. This leaves me to wonder how many others are potential victims to this potential new form of IPhone theft.