Scam of the day – April 8, 2017 – Apple phishing email

Today I received an email from Apple Tech Support or at least that is from where the email represented it was being sent even though the email address from which the email was actually sent was the email address of a private individual who most likely had his email account hacked and used by a scammer to send out the phishing email.

The email I received is copied below.  DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK.

The email  purported to inform me that for security reasons I needed to confirm my identity and provided a link for me to click on to provide the necessary information to regain use of my Apple account.  This is a phishing scam.  If you click on the link contained in the email, you will either download keystroke logging malware that can steal your personal information from your computer and lead to your becoming a victim of identity theft or be taken to a legitimate appearing page where you are lured into providing your personal information that will also result in your becoming a victim of identity theft.  Other times by clicking on the link you will unwittingly download dangerous ransomware.

TIPS

This particular phishing email has many signs that is a a scam.  It is addressed to “Dear Client” rather than to me by name.  In addition, the first sentence is grammatically incorrect.  Often these scams originate in countries where English is not the primary language and this is reflected in these phishing scams.  While the Apple logo looks legitimate, this is easy to copy.  The key thing to remember is, as I always am saying, “trust me, you can’t trust anyone.”  Never click on links in emails unless you have absolutely confirmed that the communication is legitimate.  If you received an email such as this and you had the slightest thought that it might be legitimate, you should merely contact the real company, in this case, Apple, at a phone number or online independently of the email and at a telephone number or email address that you know is correct.

Dear Client,

Your AppleID  was suspended until we’ve response from you.

We are temporarily restricting modifications to this account as a security precaution. Please go to (https://appleid.apple.com) and confirm your identity to regain access to your account.

Your account will have restricted functionality until we hear from you.

Thanks,
Apple Customer Support

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Scam of the day – May 18, 2016 – Bing bans tech support ads

Tech support scams have been a major problem for quite a while and I have reported to you about them for years. At their essence these scams generally involve you being contacted by phone, often by someone purportedly from Microsoft or Apple informing you that problems have been detected on your computer that need to be remedied immediately.  They then either ask for remote access so that they can fix the problem at no cost to you or they ask for personal information.   In both situations the caller is up to no good.  If you provide remote access to your computer you will have effectively turned over all of the information in your computer to the caller who can and will then use that information to make you a victim of identity theft or install ransomware on your computer and extort a payment from you in order to unlock your computer.  If you provide personal information by phone or in an email or text message, that information too will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.

However, the tech support scammers now also reach their victims through ads in online search engines such as Google and Bing.  Because it can sometimes be so difficult for consumers to distinguish between a legitimate tech support company and a scam, Bing, which is operated by Microsoft has just banned all third party advertisements for tech support companies on Bing.  Similarly, Google announced that starting on July 13th, it will no longer accept advertisements from payday loan companies, a business that while sometimes legitimate is filled with scammers.

TIPS

As for the most common tech support scams which start with a phone call, it is important to remember that neither Microsoft nor Apple will contact you by phone in regard to diagnosing software problems. Neither will they contact you by way of emailed messages.  If someone contacts you by phone unsolicited by you indicating that they are from Microsoft tech support and they are calling to help you with a problem that you did not contact them about, you should immediately hang up.  You are talking to a scammer.  It should be noted, however, that Microsoft does regularly issue software security updates, but they do this either in automated updates if you have provided for this service or on their website.

Scam of the day – November 17, 2015 – FTC shuts down Click4Support

Tech support scams are a profitable way for scammers to steal your money.  I have been warning you about these scams for years.  They come in a number of different varieties including pop up ads on your computer and telephone calls purportedly from Microsoft, Apple or Google.  Recently the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that, along with the Attorneys General of Pennsylvania and Connecticut, it had filed legal action against a company, Click4Support which the FTC alleges stole more than 17 million dollars from unwary consumers by pretending that they represented Microsoft, Apple and others offering unneeded tech support services.  A federal court judge has issued a preliminary injunction against Click4Support stopping their scam and freezing their assets.

Click4Support used online advertisements and popups that made them appear to be a part of Microsoft and Apple.  The ads would lure unsuspecting computer users to call Click4Support and then give Click4Support remote access to the victims’ computers for purposes of identifying viruses, malware and other problems, which were always found whether or not they actually existed.  Then Click4Support sold its services either on a one time basis or a long-term service plan at a cost that ranged from $69 to thousands.  In return, the victims actually got nothing of value and, in some instances, their computers were harmed.

TIPS

In the phone scams for tech support, it is important to remember that neither Microsoft nor Apple will ever call you about tech support so if someone represents that they are doing just that, it is a scam.  Hang up the phone.  Don’t trust popup ads for tech support service either.  If you have any concerns about your computer’s security contact a reputable computer security company using a telephone number that you have confirmed is legitimate.