My phone went into ‘SOS mode’ and my bill went up by £ 200 per month

VICTIMS of an elaborate identity theft operation say they realized something was wrong when one of their phones randomly went into SOS mode.

Raphael Wong and his wife Tiffany from Melbourne, Australia have revealed the tremendous efforts of an opportunistic hacker to almost get away with robbing them of thousands.

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Raphael Wong and wife Tiffany lost £ 22,000 to thieves
The crooks hacked the couple's iPhone

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The crooks hacked the couple’s iPhoneCredit: Getty

The Melbourne couple welcomed a new baby during Victoria’s 70-day lockdown in 2021.

But as the new parents adjusted to their new normal, a cunning thief stole their identities, committed tax evasion and nearly ran away with £ 22,200 in retirement savings.

In February 2021, Tiffany ordered a driver’s license which never arrived in the mail but being focused on other things she didn’t realize it.

Six months later, her phone switched to “SOS only” and she was unable to make any phone calls.

Raphael, 32, told news.com.au: “It took a few weeks before we started.”

When they approached their phone company, the couple found they were paying for a brand new iPad and iPhone at £ 200 a month that they had never bought.

When Raphael and Tiffany looked at their Optus mobile phone plan, they saw that all of their information had been replaced with email addresses that were not theirs.

Raphael said: “Once we realized that someone had updated our contact details, that’s when the alarm bells started ringing.”

Their email passwords were changed until they completely lost access.

They believe a hacker stole Tiffany’s license from the station and was able to use her personal information to gain access to their phone and email accounts.

The couple were then horrified to discover that their retirement pension was in jeopardy after another personal account was targeted and attempted to release funds quickly.

Raphael managed to block the hacker, but contacted his accountant as it was tax time and their emails were linked to the account.

The accountant then revealed that it was too late, the details had been changed and he had been removed from their connection to the Australian tax office.

He was able to add it himself, but found that a request had been made for a tax return of AUD 42,000 (£ 22,200).

Raphael said: “It’s serious identity theft, it shocked us deep inside.”

“Without our accountant, we probably would never have known. It was a mess. It’s quite anxious. There is definitely a feeling of violation.

The couple urge others to have multiple layers of protection and to be vigilant with the mail.

Victoria Police have confirmed receiving a cyber report of an alleged incident involving the personal financial accounts of a compromised Burwood man and woman in August 2021.

A spokesperson said: “The report is currently under evaluation.”

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