Phishing scams are nothing new, but con artists continually look for ways to make them harder to spot. One of the newest iPhone phishing scams seems so real, it can trick savvy consumers into paying fake tech support fees without ever knowing they were fooled. Even a BBB executive nearly fell for it!
How the Scam Works
You receive an unsolicited call on your cell phone, which your caller ID identifies as “Apple Inc.” The phone number matches the official Apple number (1-800-MYAPPLE). The call is pre-recorded and informs you of some kind of serious threat to your phone or computer. They may say that multiple servers containing Apple user IDs have been compromised and your information is at risk. Or the call may simply claim that your device has been compromised.
In any case, the scammers will ask you to “Press 1” for customer service or give you a different call back number to contact. If you speak with customer service, they will claim that “your phone or computer is at extreme risk” and pressure you to act now. Then, they will ask you to give them access to your personal information or make a payment so they can fix the problem. Once the scammers have what they want, they may block your number or simply stop answering your calls.
How to Protect Yourself from Tech Support Scams
- Don’t trust your caller ID. Even if your caller ID says a reputable company is calling, keep in mind that caller ID is easily faked.
- Contact customer service directly. If you receive a call you are unsure about, look up the customer service number on the company’s official website. Call that number to confirm whether there really is an issue.
- Never give personal information to strangers.Never give your full name, address, Social Security/Social Insurance number, banking information, or other sensitive information to strangers, especially someone who called you unsolicited.
For More Information
If you’ve been the victim of a phishing scam like this one, report it on the BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others protect themselves from similar schemes.