Tampa Bay Area couple say their iPhones were hacked, money stolen

Tormentor even sent mocking messages, says couple
Posted at 4:03 PM, May 11, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A Tampa Bay Area couple say their phones were hacked, their online accounts compromised, and one of their bank accounts drained.

Now they're trying to warn others that our seemingly safe, high-tech devices can become tools of torment.

"The person is hearing us and taking pictures of us and basically taunting us while we're trying to stop the problem from happening," says Kashma Maharaj Stein of Lutz, who says she and her husband Andrew Stein are scared to even use their iPhones right now.

"Clearly you're listening to our conversations, clearly you're messing with our finances. We don't know how to stop the bleeding at this point," says Andrew Stein to ABC Action News.

The apparent hacking began in mid-April when the money in Andrew's bank account with Wells Fargo suddenly went missing.

Then, while on the phone trying to figure out what went wrong, his wife started getting menacing messages that appeared to come from Andrew.

"My wife got a text from me, from my phone, that I didn't send and it was very, very graphic. It was very, very degrading to her," says Andrew Stein, who showed us some of the messages that have continued on and off now for weeks.

The couple also believes photos were taken of them through their own devices, and their calls listened-in on.

They took their concerns to local and federal law enforcement, as well as to their mobile carrier service, T-Mobile, and their phone maker, Apple.

So far they haven't gotten a satisfying answer as to how to handle the situation.

"The best we got is recreate your identity, start from scratch," says Andrew Smith, who is a professional dog trainer and a driver for ride-sharing services that require a smart phone to work and make money. "It's a really really scary, hard pill to swallow for both of us," he adds.

The couple doesn't know what led to their phones being compromised, but as they try to get their lost money back, and their online identities restored, they want to warn others this can happen to anyone.

ABC Action News will be staying on top of this developing situation and will report updates on the couple's situation as they become available.