If you are like me, my phone is a huge part of my daily life, whether for work or personal, I am either on it or it is close by. For many of us we use our phones as the camera for family events, housing all emails, and even sometimes managing finances; something scammers know and use to their advantage. For those with iPhones, one of the newest scams could be coming our way and it is very convincing. It’s enough to trick even the savviest into paying fake tech support fees without ever realizing they were fooled.
The Better Business Bureau has seen this work when a consumer receives an unsolicited call on their cell phone, which the caller ID identifies as “Apple Inc.” The phone number matches the official Apple number (1-800-MY APPLE). The call is pre-recorded and says there is a serious threat to their phone or computer. The message may say that multiple servers containing Apple user IDs have been compromised and their information is at risk. Or the call may simply claim their device has been compromised.
The consumer is then asked to “Press 1” for customer service or it will give a different call back number to contact. If you speak with the alleged customer service rep, they claim, “your phone or computer is at extreme risk,” and press for immediate action. Then, they will ask for personal information or to 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.
This type of number spoofing is frustrating and can make anyone question their caller ID. The Better Business Bureau recommends if your caller ID says a reputable company is calling, keep in mind that caller ID is easily faked. So being skeptical every time you answer the phone can save a lot of hassle.
The best plan of action when receiving a call purporting to be from a company or government agency is to hang up and contact them directly. Look up the customer service number on the company’s official website to make sure you contact with the right people.
Also never give your full name, address, Social Security/Social Insurance number, banking information, or other sensitive information unless you are certain you’re talking to the actual company or government agency. Never give this information out to someone who calls unsolicited.
Unfortunately for many of us, these calls aren’t going to stop. But following these tips and staying savvy will help you avoid falling victim. Another way to avoid these scams and stay one step ahead of scammers is by subscribing to BBB’s weekly Scam Alert emails.