The fake Apple iCloud breach

Created date

May 17th, 2019
A sign features the words Scam Alert

For years, I have been getting the famous phone phishing scam calls that start with “I’m calling from Microsoft and there is a problem with your computer.”

It was particularly easy for me to identify those calls as scams since I have an Apple computer, which doesn’t use a Microsoft operating system.

However, this past week, I have received at least five calls from a caller identified as Apple.

When I answered the first call, I heard a recording telling me that my Apple iCloud account had been breached. I was told to wait on the line for a service representative who would help me.

I was skeptical about the call so I hung up, but as more calls from the same number came through, I wondered if it was, in fact, legitimate.

The first thing I did was conduct a quick web search using the keywords “Apple, iCloud, scam.” I quickly learned that I was not the only one to receive such a call. I also learned that my first hunch was correct. It was a scam.

Level of sophistication

What is particularly troubling about this scam is its level of sophistication. Scammers managed to manipulate the caller ID so that it said “Apple” and the phone number that appeared on the display is the real Apple phone number, 1-800-275-2273.

Keep in mind that Apple never calls people out of the blue to tell you that your account has been compromised. They only call when you ask them to call you for service help.

On its website, Apple says, “If you get an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be from Apple, hang up and contact us directly.”

The company also says it will never ask you to provide information like passwords, verifications, or security keys over the phone.

Those who don’t hang up on such calls may find themselves being asked for passwords. The caller may offer to fix your “tech problem” and ask for payment by credit card, gift card, or wire transfer.

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received nearly 143,000 reports about tech support scams, which are the most common type of fraud perpetrated on older people.

Sadly, people 60 and over were about five times more likely than younger people to report losing money on this type of scam.

To help people protect themselves from this type of scam, the FTC has updated information on its website. It includes a short video featuring a victim of a tech scam along with information on what to do if you have been scammed.

If you have been the victim of a scam, report it to the FTC by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or go online to ftccomplaintassistant.gov.

The FBI also has an informative website that details various methods cyber criminals employ along with suggestions on how you can protect yourself from scammers. Visit fbi.gov/investigate/cyber.

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