When you are having issues with an Apple product, getting through customer service is always a nightmare. Half of the time, you speak with an automated help line and not a real person, frustrating you further. But now, Apple is reaching out to its customers? Something doesn’t see right here…
An Apple a day doesn’t keep the scammers away.
If you happen to be one of the 588 million Apple product users in the world, it’s a good thing you found this article. As of recent, Apple customers (and even other cellphone users) are the target of a new phishing scheme.
Further, attackers are posing as Apple Support representatives. This attack is currently making its way through two channels: phone calls and emails. Let’s take a look.
*Cue the Classic iPhone Ringtone*
One of the main ways that scammers phish people is through a phone call. Phishing is when an attacker poses as (for example) a legitimate business. Through the front of a legit company, they pose as an employee in need of account information.
This then leads to the scammer asking for personal information a customer would discuss with an actual representative of the business. The victim may unknowingly give the scammer the requested information, and then have to face the consequences.
If you need to catch up on what phishing is in greater detail, click here to read our article on the basics.
As for the fake Apple Support calls, the procedure is quite similar to the above example.
The story line for the scam calls is as follows. An “Apple Support Adviser” call line is reaching out to Apple customers to warn them not to use their Apple products without contacting them.
Here is the scam call in action, listen below:
One can observe that there is not much detail included with the call. This clue is the big kicker in knowing that the call is a scam. By not including much information, it entices the use to call the scammers back. This is what the phishers count on.
As sad as it may seem, many people will return the call and possibly give up important account information to the attackers. They then can use such information to take over you Apple ID and steal credit card and other sensitive personal information.
You’ve got Mail
Now not only are the fake Apple support scammers targeting users through the phone, but also in their inbox. Continuing, emails appear in inboxes warning users of a compromised Apple ID account.
If you are an iPhone / Apple product user, you know how important an Apple ID account is. Without one, your devices don’t function. Not only that but all your information is connected through the ID.
I actually received the email several weeks ago. I immediately knew it was a scam when I received it. I have many email accounts for various different things. The email was sent to an account that is not linked to my Apple ID.
Further, I do have to admit I panicked for a split second. As an owner of many Apple devices, I did not want to deal with a compromised Apple ID. That is when I looked at the email again and realized the “compromised” Apple ID they warned me about was not an ID at all.
The key in this type of situation is to take a minute to let it sink in and then evaluate the situation. Most people would jump into a panic and reply / call the scammers hoping to fix their account.
Like I’ve said before, this is what the scammers count on – that split second of panic where you are not thinking clearly.
How do I avoid fake support scams?
In order to avoid falling victim to a phishing scam like the one above, it’s important to be alert.
Here are a few tips on avoiding phishing scams:
- Don’t answer a call if you don’t know the number. If it’s important they will leave a message.
- Never give personal information out over the phone.
- Check the email address on suspicious emails. Chances are, it’ll be an odd email address.
- Move suspicious emails to spam so your email provider can review them
All in all, phishing scams can be detected if users allot a certain amount of awareness. Through the use of the tips above and exercising caution, one can avoid phishing scams. Be on alert when a company like Apple reaches out to you personally.
From personal experience, I know that when I voluntarily call Apple about a problem, I’m on hold forever. But now, they are mysteriously reaching out to customers? I don’t think so.
So, next time you receive a fishy call or email, take a minute to process the fact that it could be an attacker trying to steal your information.
By Taylor Ritchey