FTC warns about scammers calling people pretending to be Apple

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Apple ditched plans for secure iCloud backups after FBI concern
Scammers could claim your iCloud account has been breached.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Federal Trade Commission is warning people that scammers are posing as Apple customer support workers in an attempt to defraud them. The agency shared a couple of recorded messages (which you can listen to here) that sound quasi-legitimate but are, in fact, trying to steal personal information.

In one message, the caller says they have detected suspicious activity in the recipient’s iCloud account. They suggest that the account has been breached and, to secure it, the person should speak to an Apple customer service representative. They then give the option to connect to such a person on the phone.

In another example, what sounds like an automated message from Amazon claims an iPhone has been ordered using the individual’s account. If the targeted person did not make this order, the bogus call says, they should cancel it. Again, the scammer gives the call recipient the chance to do that on the phone by connecting to someone who can cancel the order.

In both cases, the calls are totally fraudulent. The FTC offers some easy, actionable advice for avoiding these scams. “If you get an unexpected call or message about a problem with any of your accounts, hang up,” the FTC says.

Don’t believe the scammers

Don’t, under any circumstances, give out your personal information or connect with the “customer support.”

If you think there could legitimately be a problem with your Apple account, contact the company directly. Don’t assume someone who phones you claiming to be with Apple actually is.

For most people, this is probably advice they already know. But people continue to fall for these kinds of phishing scams, which is why they continue to occur. Today’s phishing scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, too. Sometimes scammers may seem to know a surprising amount of personal information about users, such as names, addresses and more.

Again, don’t take any of this as evidence that you’re actually talking to a legitimate company representative. If you willingly hand over financial information to scammers, banks can make it tough to get your money back.

Source: Federal Trade Commission