Scammers trying to get your personal information may not be new, but con artists are always reworking their jam, looking for ways to make them harder to spot. One of the newest is coming to your iPhone, and it is very convincing. It’s enough to trick even the savviest consumers into paying fake tech support fees without ever knowing they were fooled.
Better Business Bureau has seen this work when a consumer receives an unsolicited call on their cellphone, which the caller ID identifies as “Apple Inc.” The phone number matches the official Apple number (1-800-MY APPLE). The call is prerecorded and says there is a 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 your device has been compromised.
The consumer is then asked to “Press 1” for customer service, or it will give you a different call back number to contact. If you speak with the alleged customer service representative, they claim “your phone or computer is at extreme risk,” and press you for immediate action. Then, they will ask for your personal information or 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 you question your 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 your phone can save you a lot of hassle.
The best plan of action when you receive a call from a company or government agency is to hang up and contact them directly. You should look up the customer service number on the company’s official website to make sure you get in 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 you 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.
We want to hear from you even if you get these scam calls, texts or emails and delete them, and by reporting them, we can better fight these scammers. It takes a few minutes of your time and you can fill them out here: www.bbb.org/scamtracker.
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