Boston Police report thieves downtown and in the Theater District are robbing people of their phones, then holding up the phones to their victims' faces to use the "Face ID" feature to unlock them.
Police describe one such incident, involving an iPhone robbery outside 224 Tremont St. near Stuart Street, around 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 7:
The victim reported that he was in the area when he was surrounded by three unknown black male suspects, approximately in their 20’s. The victim reported that one of the males forcibly took his cellphone from his hand before fleeing the area on foot. Detectives stated that the suspect then returned to the crime scene and held up the stolen phone to the victim's face to unlock it with the ‘Face ID’ feature. The following day the victim discovered several of his financial accounts had been compromised, resulting in multiple fraudulent charges.
Police add they are investigating several other similar robberies in the area. Although the incident involved an iPhone, some Android phones also allow for facial unlocking.
Police offer some tips, starting with using a passcode instead of your face to unlock your phone. Also, don't have your phone remember your logins and passwords for accounts on banking and other financial sites and apps. And if your phone does get stolen, either use a "Lost" feature to disable or brick it - and then change your financial passwords as soon as you can.