Apple Watch dropped on Disney ride blamed for $40,000 fraud

From Katie Francis' "Guest Drops Apple Watch on EPCOT Ride & Jumps Out to Get It, Then Has $40,000 in Fraudulent Credit Card Charges" posted Saturday on WDW News Today:

A woman lost her watch on a ride at EPCOT last month. That innocent mistake cost more than $40,000. Here’s what happened, according to the report from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

The woman was fidgeting with her Apple watch while she rode the slow-moving The Seas with Nemo & Friends attraction on April 13. The ride was in an elevated position, the woman said, at the worst possible time when the watch popped off her wrist.

The Apple Hermès watch — which is worth $1,300 — fell through the grated floor on the ride. It tumbled down and landed on a pathway below. The woman could see her watch, but it was just out of reach while she was stuck on the ride.

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...

Then came the fraud alerts.

The woman “advised that has several fraud alerts throughout the course of the day on her Amex card. According to the victim, there was approximately $40,000 of fraudulent charges on her card,” the report said.

My take: Let me guess, was her password 1111?


  1. Tim Collins said:
    I have 6 chances to pick the correct 4 digits from 10000 combinations. I do not like those odds. That was one very lucky criminal who just happened to be in that pavilion at that time. Something seems amiss here. You would immediately activate Find My device and then secure compromised data. Or else….just fault Apple for my mishap. They seem to be the boogie man in so many anecdotal tales. Apple must need more oversight.

    May 23, 2022
  2. Member since 83 – AXP has helped me out of more scrapes in more countries than anyone could imagine. Allowed me to see more rock concerts too. I carried a corporate card in my own name during years of IT work. Consultancy was amazed I could wait for my expense checks. Most new consultants expected a company-paid card.
    I earned a gazillion miles renting rooms full of Macs & PCs, booking hotel conference rooms, catering and airline tx, for decades. Their customer service is stellar, all you need to do is call, from any phone, in any country.

    May 23, 2022
  3. Jerry Doyle said:
    I do not comprehend clearly what went down here. Did not the woman have an access combination on her Watch and if not, why not?

    Also, why didn’t the lady report immediately her loss credit cards (out of her possession) and have the cards null-and-void and new ones issued? Once the Watch was out of her possession she should have alerted the credit card companies to void the cards, and if not, why not?

    It is distressing that this woman got ripped off by thieves, but it seems that she had a concomitant level of personal responsibility to negate that from happening and chose not to initiate needed actions to do so. Then again, we live in contemporary times where few folk today wish to assume “personal” responsibility for their actions. Their mindset is someone else is to blame, not me who initiated the incident.

    Lastly, I am shocked at the Disney’s staffer lackadaisical response of a park rider exiting a moving ride by only verbally admonishing the rider. When one considers the serious park incidents leading to personal injuries and deaths of park participants along with the culpable legal responsibilities of the park administration to ensure the safety of attendees, a verbal reprimand doesn’t rise at a commensurate level of response to this rider’s violation of jumping out of a “moving” ride. Disney should implement a “no tolerance” policy for ride rule violations (similar to the TSA) sending a clear message that the park means business when it says it puts safety of attendees first. That policy is anyone jumping from a moving ride is removed immediately from the park. The woman’s husband then could have picked up her watch and exited the park with it. No reasonable person would have condemned Disney for enforcement of such a policy in lieu of all the horrendous publicity these days over park ride accidents.

    You probably can discern from my comment my frustration with a society today who believes more and more that they are entitled and not willing to assume responsibility for their actions resulting in negative consequences to them and even to others.

    May 23, 2022
  4. Miguel Ancira said:
    too many unknowns and APPL’s deep pockets make this a non story…

    May 23, 2022
  5. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    Uhhh…if this story is indeed true, how did the culprit retrieve the watch from such a tough and precarious location? While possible, I highly doubt it was a nefarious Disney employee.

    To top that off, Jerry is correct. A responsible person would have:

    1) Had a strong passcode to begin with.

    2) Immediately have disabled the watch from the Find My app.

    3) Immediately contacted the credit card companies.

    4) Originally already have set up card text notifications of purchases made to realize any errant purchases

    Is my simple list anyone else’s responsibility?

    May 23, 2022
    • Steven Philips said:
      And would not have been fiddling with their Hermès watch band on a carnival ride!

      May 23, 2022
  6. Dan Scropos said:
    Virtually every other article references the following:

    “However, it seems unlikely that the credit card fraud was caused by the lost Apple Watch.”

    Also, doesn’t the Apple Watch HIDE the credit card info? Are we to believe someone went store to store on camera swiping an Apple Watch to the tune of $40k?

    Lastly, can’t you deny the purchases when you receive fraud alerts, or are they post-transaction?

    I also read where you can customize the 4 digit code to a larger string, say 6 or 8 digits. Can anyone verify if that’s true? If so, I’m going to do that.

    May 23, 2022
  7. T R said:
    “Tip: To use a passcode longer than four digits, open the Settings app on your Apple Watch, tap Passcode, then turn off Simple Passcode.”

    May 23, 2022
  8. Michael Goldfeder said:
    Her story has about as much credibility as: “Harvey the Invisible Rabbit”; “Francis the Talking Mule”; and of course “Mister Ed.”

    May 23, 2022

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