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While another victim loses $1,500 to scammers posing as Apple Support, here’s how to spot a fake and stop it from happening to you.
If you’re a Mac user, it was almost funny to get that urgent call from someone saying they were from Microsoft and you were having some serious issues with your PC. “Uh-huh,” you might say, “sounds like Windows, yes,” before hanging up.
Now according to KMGH television in Denver, you are now also likely to have such callers pretending to be from Apple. And the TV station cites as evidence the unique case of local resident Cookie Pridemore, who was caught for $1,500.
Pridemore bought an iPhone 13 and for undisclosed reasons had a problem. “I got stuck,” she said, “and there was no way I could get back into it.”
“So I Googled ‘Apple Customer Service’ on my husband’s phone,” she continued, then dialed the number. “The woman answered, she said she would be more than happy to help me.”
But then, seemingly so quickly that he couldn’t be caught, this scammer gained access to Pridemore’s bank account. “She was in my account and zoom, zoom, zoom, started transferring money through Zelle.”
Wait a second
You have read this and know that there had to be steps between answering the phone call and transferring the money. KMGH alternates between portraying this as a crime anyone could fall for, or as an example of how devilishly clever scammers are.
Still, scammers are smart, even though they didn’t have to be in this case. Scammers make their money by tricking people and they are very, very good at it.
So while you wouldn’t have been fooled by a scammer saying they need all your bank details to fix a phone, there are scammers who can and will find a way to scam you. It’s their job, and the people who get scammed aren’t stupid, they’ve been successfully duped.
However, they could do a lot more to prevent it than this Denver resident seems to have done.
How to Avoid Fake Support People
If the scammer calls you, it’s easy. “If you receive an unsolicited or suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be from Apple or Apple Support,” Apple said in a detailed statement. supporting document“just hang up.”
This is true even if you happen to have Apple phone numbers memorized or have them in your contacts. Because you can’t trust it when the caller display pops up to say the call is from them.
“Scammers use fake caller ID information to spoof phone numbers from companies like Apple and often pretend there is suspicious activity on your account or device to get your attention,” Apple is suing. “Or they may use flattery or threats to coerce you into giving them information, money, and even Apple gift cards.”
You can also report the call to the FTC at its reportfraud.ftc.gov site, or your local police. It’s much the same with emails and unsolicited messages, especially with misspellings.
In the case of the Denver resident, she phoned the scammers. Only like KMGH said, Google searches may reveal phone numbers for these bogus services.
So don’t use Google. If you’re having a problem with an Apple device, it may be quicker to seek advice on AppleInsider.com, but if not, you can go directly to Apple.com.
Once you’re in communication with a scammer, you obviously don’t know it’s a fake, but you’ll get clues very quickly.
That’s not how Apple makes money
Apple is very good at extracting money from you, but it never does this by asking for your bank details. Or your social security number. They won’t fix a bricked iPhone knowing your date of birth or your Apple ID password.
If they ask you anything, if they even hint that it would be helpful if you told them your passwords, hang up.
It looks like Pridemore must have given the scammer her bank details because she would have been blocked on her iPhone. If she had been able to use the phone, she might have been prompted to download an app from a link the scammer prepared.
This one sounds laughable: yeah, oh sure, let me install some of your nice malware on my phone and let’s swap vacation pics while you blindly steal from me.
Only genuine Apple Support technicians can perform certain types of remote diagnostics, and again, scammers can be very, very convincing, because they have to be.
So don’t listen, don’t rate what they say, just hear the words “link” or “download” and hang up.
You can tell your iPhone to block unwanted calls, text messages, and social media messages. Only, depending on your job, your earnings may depend on unknown numbers not being blocked instantly.
So some of these blocking solutions are a little too heavy, but they might be what you need.
This Denver resident lost $1,500, more than the cost of the iPhone 13 she bought. You have to feel for her, but she made mistakes and took unnecessary risks.
While KMGH did what the local news tends to do, which is to escalate the dangers into national calamity and downplay the victim to blamelessness. That doesn’t mean there’s a tsunami of bogus Apple support calls.
This means that there are scammers out there who are more than willing to take your money unless you protect yourself.