Woman loses her Apple Watch at EPCOT, gets $40,000 in fraudulent Apple Pay charges instead

Apple Watch and Apple Pay
Apple Watch and Apple Pay (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A woman lost her Hermès Apple Watch at the EPCOT Center while on a ride.
  • Someone found the Apple Watch and ran up $40,000 in credit card charges.
  • It isn't clear whether the watch had a strong passcode assigned to it.

A woman who says she dropped and lost her Apple Watch at the EPCOT Center has now filed a police report saying that she is on the hook for $40,000 in fraudulent credit card charges as a result.

According to a WDWNT report, the unnamed woman was riding "the slow-moving The Seas with Nemo & Friends attraction on April 13" while "fidgeting with her Apple watch." The inevitable happened — the $1,300 Hermès Apple Watch fell from her wrist and despite attempts by her husband to retrieve it, park employees prevented that from happening. Fast forward a few hours and the credit card charges began, helped in part by an American Express credit card that had an unlimited credit limit and was signed up for Apple Pay.

The woman had good reason to be worried. She had several credit cards linked to the watch, including an American Express card with an unlimited credit line, the report said.The woman, who was staying at Disney's Contemporary Resort, filed an incident with Disney Guest Relations to see if anyone had retrieved the fallen watch. She went back later, and no one had turned it in. "The staff advised her that they did not have the watch," the report said.Then came the fraud alerts.

Apple Watch Hermes

Apple Watch Hermes (Image credit: iMore)

A police report filed at the Orange County Sheriff's Office doesn't say what the $40,000 was spent on, and it isn't known how this all went down. An Apple Watch, once found, requires a passcode to be entered or to be near a synced iPhone before it can be in a position to make payments. Was the passcode one that was easy to guess?

Now might be a good time to set a strong Apple Watch passcode if you haven't already. The same goes for your iPhone, too!

Apple Pay is one of the best Apple Watch features around, thanks in part to its security. But that security is only as good as your passcode, unfortunately.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • I know a few people who don’t use a passcode or pass phrase on their iPhone. They hate Face ID and Touch ID and don’t care if anyone steals their phone and say good luck, they have nothing on it anyway. Oh well.
  • "The woman, who was staying at Disney's Contemporary Resort, filed an incident with Disney Guest Relations" Did she also contact her bank and/or the credit card companies and report the cards as compromised?! This is the very first thing you should do. Immediately. Then those charges shouldn't really be an issue. Seems like she did not. So however you spin it, it's her own **** fault and has nothing to do with the Apple Watch itself. She could just as well have lost her wallet with those cards inside. (Also I don't get how she "dropped and lost her Apple Watch" to begin with.)
  • We all think our six digit passcodes are unbreakable but I’m not so sure. It would be helpful to update this story with a quick reminder of smart things to do when one loses their Apple watch (or phone). From the Watch App you can quickly remove your credit cards from the watch and also easily add them back when the watch is found. You can also mark the watch as lost or erase it in Find My, I see that I can do the same for family share devices. I’m pretty sure you can log into Find My on someone else’s device to do the same. But I’m not sure what happens when you mark them as lost, would appreciate learning. I’m also not sure if you would lose all of your workout/stand data or how difficult it would be to set up a new watch. I make sure my phone does automatic backups and I think it backs up the watch automatically too?
  • My copy of Find My lets me erase my Apple Watch. Doesn't her's? She clearly knew it was lost, when and where. Not like she discovered it missing a day or two after. Seems as fishy as the ride she was on.