At one time Apple computer users believed that they were not as vulnerable to scams as Microsoft users because scammers focused their attention on Microsoft and the Windows operating system.
While this may have been true at one time, it certainly is not true any longer and users of Apple products should be every bit as aware of the various scams targeting all computer and electronic device users. Recently Stephanie Golden fell victim to a tech support scammer when her MacBook went blank and then a box appeared telling her the odd message “You are at risk of spyware, scams, something.” There also was a banner with a number for her to call Apple Support. The person answering the call convinced her to purchase $800 worth of iTunes gift cards and provide the numbers to the phony Apple support person. Of course, the telephone number that she called was not to Apple, but rather to the scammer who had sent the initial message to her computer and Ms. Golden lost the money she used to pay for the gift cards. Tech support scams continue to be a major problem with instances of the fraud dramatically increasing over the last year.I have been reporting to you about tech support scams involving Microsoft, Apple and others for many years. Generally, these scams begin with a pop-up warning on your computer or an unsolicited telephone call, email or text message purportedly from tech support for your computer or software company telling you that your computer has been infected and that you must call a toll free number to speak with someone to get assistance in fixing the problem. Once the victim speaks with the scammer, the victim is told he or she has to pay a fee to have the problem fixed and that the victim must enable the scammer to get remote access to the computer in order to fix it. If you provide remote access to the scammer, you will end up having your personal information stolen that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft. According to a report from Stony Brook University, 85% of these scams originate in India.
Neither Apple nor Microsoft will contact you by phone in regard to diagnosing software problems.  If someone contacts you by phone unsolicited by you indicating that they are from Microsoft or Apple 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. Whenever you get a call purporting to be from one of the tech companies informing you of a problem you need to pay for or provide remote access to your computer in order to fix, you can be sure that the call is from a scammer even if your Caller ID indicates the call is from Microsoft, Apple or some other legitimate company. As I have mentioned many times, through a technique called spoofing, scammers can manipulate your Caller ID to make it appear as if the call is originating from a legitimate source. Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.
Providing remote access to anyone to your computer can lead to a myriad of problems including identity theft and the downloading of ransomware.  Neither Apple nor Microsoft ever provide notices of security problems that contain telephone numbers for you to call to fix the problem.  Whenever you get a pop-up, email, or text message that appears to tell you that you have a security problem with your computer, you should never click on any links contained in the message or call the telephone number provided. If your screen freezes, all you need to do is just turn off your computer and restart it. If you are concerned that you may be experiencing a real security problem you can contact tech support at Apple or Microsoft directly by phone or by email using the phone number and email addresses you find on their respective websites.
Finally, asking for payment via iTunes gift cards or other gift cards is another indication that it is a scam. Legitimate companies do not ask for payment by way of gift cards. Here is a link to Apple’s warning about scammers asking for iTunes gift cards.
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