Man Impersonates Apple Employee, Steals Photos and Videos from 306 People

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In what can only be called one of the more brazen acts of impersonation ever, a California man is charged with stealing no less than 620,000 photos and 9,000 videos from 306 unsuspecting Apple customers while pretending to be a company rep to get victims to hand over their account information.

computer screen
Photo by Arget

As you can imagine, he’s now facing some prison time – about five years.

That would be for three charges of unauthorized access to a protected computer and one of conspiracy, the LA Times reports.

Of course, money was involved though it wasn’t greed that unraveled this whole thing.

Hao Kuo Chi, who goes by the name David,” advertised his ability to “hack” iCloud accounts for a fee. As you can imagine, more than a few people took him up on his offer.

He was finally caught after he posted a celebrity’s pictures to a pornography website back in 2018. The celeb hired a firm to get rid of the pics and, in the process, they discovered the pictures were uploaded from his home. This gave law enforcement a pretext for conducting a search of his home where they found the incriminating evidence of his scheme.

Since the whole thing involved getting targets to hand over their information willingly, the La Puente, California “hacker” never actually “hacked” anything so Apple’s systems weren’t compromised in any way.

From the filing: “Chi’s conspirators would request that he hack a certain iCloud account, and he would respond with a Dropbox link, according to a court statement by FBI agent Anthony Bossone, who works on cybercrime cases.”

And to underline just how bad this whole thing is, pictures of what Chi deemed were attractive women were called “wins” and would be shared with an online group.

Have you ever fallen victim to a phishing scheme? Let us know your story in the comments below.

Don’t forget to check out some of our other photography news on Light Stalking at this link right here.

[LA Times]

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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