Scam of the day – May 30, 2017 – Apple iTunes phishing scam

Phishing emails, and the more personally tailored spear phishing emails are the most common way that people and companies are tricked into downloading malware such as ransomware or keystroke logging malware used to steal information from the victim for purposes of identity theft. Effective phishing emails will appear to be legitimate and lure victims into downloading malware filled attachments or clicking on links tainted with malware.

Reproduced below is a new phishing email presently being circulated that is one of the worst examples of a phishing email.   It purports to be from the Apple Store informing the recipient that his or her account has been used to make a purchase and urges the targeted victim to download an attachment if they did not make the purchase.

As regular readers of Scamicide have seen, many of the phishing emails we have shown you over the years are quite convincing, however this particular email is so filled with indications that it is phony, it is hard to imagine someone falling for the scam although I am sure some people will do so.

The email address of the sender has nothing to do with Apple which is an early indication that this is a scam.  There is no logo that appears on the email and the email is not addressed to anyone in particular nor does it indicate an account number.  Finally, their are spelling errors and horrible grammatical errors throughout the email.

Here is a copy of the email that is presently circulating.

“[ApplePay] – iTunes was used to purchase in App Store on Macbook Pro 13
Date and time: 27 May 2017 10.32 hrs
Transaction: 7BA6818XL0333C2U
Order number: MQ3N7F0G8Q
OS: OS X 10.12.4
Browser: Safari
Location: New York, United States of America
If the information looks familiar, you can ignore this email.
If you have not recently purchased an article or in-apps apps on a MacBook Pro 13 “
With its appIe lD and thinking that your account has been accessed,
Please read our binding and follow the instuction to back up your account.
Best regards,
AppIe account department
Copyright @ 1998-2017. 2211 N 1st St, San Jose, CA 95131, USA. All rights reserved.”
TIPS
Whenever you get any email that attempts to lure you into downloading an attachment or clicking on a link, you should be skeptical and never consider doing so unless you have absolutely confirmed that the email is legitimate.  Also, look for telltale signs that the email is a phishing email by examining the address of the sender, the spelling and grammar and a lack of your account number or name appearing although in more professionally done spear phishing emails real account numbers and your name might be used which is why it is always imperative to never click on links or download attachments unless you are totally convinced that the email is not phony.

Scam of the day – April 5, 2017 – iCloud phishing scam

Reports are surfacing of scammers posing as Apple employees calling people and telling them that there has been a security breach of their iCloud accounts.  They are then instructed to provide their login information in order to receive help in fixing the problem.  Unfortunately, these telephone calls are not from Apple, but from scammers who, when provided with the personal information from their victim, are able to access all of the information and material contained in the victim’s iCloud account for purposes of identity theft, extortion or other nefarious goals.

It was through a similar iCloud phishing scam done through emails that many celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence had nude photos stolen from their iCloud accounts when they turned over their usernames and passwords to hackers.

In the present phone call phishing incarnation of the scam, many of the calls are coming from the 844 area code which is a toll free number used in many instances by scammers.

TIPS

Apple does not contact its customers by phone if there is a security problem.  It is also important to remember that whenever you are contacted by telephone, you can never be sure who is actually making the call which is why you should never provide personal information to anyone over the phone whom you have not called.  Even if your Caller ID indicates the call is legitimate, scammers can use a technique called spoofing to trick your Caller ID into indicating that the call is from a trusted source when, in truth, it is coming from a scammer.

If you do have a problem with any Apple product, you can call Apple tech support at 800-275-2273.

Scam of the day – January 31, 2017 – Apple phishing scam

Phishing emails, by which scammers and identity thieves attempt to lure you into either clicking on links contained within the email which download malware or  trick you into providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft, are nothing new.   They are a staple of identity thieves and scammers and with good reason because they work.

Reproduced below is a copy of an Apple phishing email that uses the common ploy of indicating that there is a security problem that requires you to verify personal information for security purposes.   There are a number of telltale flaws in this particular   Although the email address from which it was sent appears to be legitimate, upon closer examination you can determine it is not an official email address of Apple.  Also, although the email is quite short, it contains numerous grammatical errors.  In addition, the salutation reads “Dears” rather than “Dear” and the email concludes with “Worm regards” rather than “Warm regards.”   Most telling, the email is not directed to you by name and does not contain your account number in the email.  It is important to remember that merely because the email contains an Apple logo, which is not reproduced below, the exact logo of Apple does not mean that the communication is legitimate.  It is easy to obtain a copy of the logo on the Internet.

“Dears,
Your AppIe id was used in from an unauthorized computer.
As the new protection policy has been followed, we have no choice but to put your id on hold.We advise you to update your id soon to avoid permanent account closing.                                                                                     your code is 4M7801DLLA16A                                                                                       Update Now >
Wondering why you got this email?
It’s sent when someone adds or changes a contact email address for an AppIe ID . If you didn’t do this, don’t worry. Your email address cannot be used as a contact address for an AppIe ID without your verification.
Worm Regards,
AppIe Team”

TIPS

Obviously if you do not have an account with Apple you know that this is a phishing scam, but even if you do have an account with Apple, as I indicated above there are a number of indications that this is not a legitimate email from Apple, but instead is a phishing email. Legitimate companies would refer to your specific account number in the email.  They also would specifically direct the email to you by your name.  This email’s salutation is a generic “Dears” without an “s” that should not be there.

As with all phishing emails, two things can happen if you click on the links provided.  Either you will be sent to a legitimate looking, but phony webpage where you will be prompted to input personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft or, even worse, merely by clicking on the link, you may download keystroke logging malware that will steal all of your personal information from your computer or smartphone and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.  If you receive an email like this and think it may possibly be legitimate, merely call the customer service number  for Apple where you can confirm that it is a scam.

Scam of the day – January 20, 2015 – Apple phishing scam

I receive the same phishing emails that you do and so when I do get one, I like to pass on a warning to everyone.  Today’s scam email came with “Please confirm your identity” on the subject line.  The email purported to be from Apple and, like all phishing emails, its goal was to lure the victim into either directly providing personal information or to get the potential victim to click on a link in the email that will download keystroke logging malware that would enable the identity thief to steal personal information from the victim’s computer or other electronic device.  Unlike many other phishing emails which are easy to spot because the email address from which it is sent carries the email address of an unwary computer user whose email account has been hacked and used as a part of a botnet to send out these phishing emails, this one came from a legitimate appearing email address of “online@Apple.com.”  However, as you can see from the email, which is reproduced below, the email itself hardly reads as a legitimate communication from Apple nor did it contain any logo or appear official.  If I had clicked on the link where it indicates “Verify Now” I would have either been prompted to provide personal information that would be used to make me a victim of identity theft or, as I indicated earlier, I would have downloaded keystroke logging malware that would steal that and other information from my computer and use it to make me a victim of identity theft.  Here is a copy of what I received.  DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK.

“The following information for your Apple ID was updated on

Shipping and/or billing address

Please confirm your identity today or your account will be Disabled

due to concerns we have for the safety and integrity of the Apple Community.

To confirm your identity, we recommend that you go to:

Verify Now >”

TIPS

Because you can never be sure when you receive an email that asks for personal information or requires you to click on a link for whatever reason that the email is legitimate, the only course of action to follow is to not click on the link or provide any information in direct response to the email.  In this case, it was obvious that this email was a scam so I just ignored it.  If, however, you have any thought that the email might be legitimate, you should merely go directly to the real website of the company or person sending you the email or call them on the phone at a number that you know is legitimate to confirm whether or not the email is legitimate.