Phishing scams by which you are contacted by a scammer through an email luring you to either click on a malware infected link in the email or provide personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft is a common and effective technique used by scammers. It comes in many varieties and when it is done over the phone it is called Vishing. Recently an extremely sophisticated vishing scam is targeting iPhone users. The scam starts with a recorded automated call to your iPhone warning you that a security breach has occurred at Apple and that you need to contact Apple to remedy the situation. A common feature of many phishing and vishing scams is to create the impression of an emergency that requires you to act immediately. The call appears on your iPhone as if it actually came from Apple. Anyone calling the number provided by the scammer will be prompted either to provide personal information that can be used to make you a victim of identity theft or to actually pay by credit card for unnecessary services recommended to remedy the non-existent problem.
The truth is that Apple does not contact people by phone to alert them to security issues. It is also true that it is easy to “spoof” a telephone number so it appears to come from a legitimate source, when it actually is coming from a scammer. You can never be sure whenever you receive a phone call who is really calling you. Therefore whenever you get an emergency call from your bank, credit card company or any other business alerting you to a problem that requires your action or asks for personal information, you should hang up and, if you think there is a chance that the call might be legitimate, call the company back at a telephone number that you know is correct. Don’t rely on a Google search to provide the telephone number because in many instances, scammers have managed to have their scam phone numbers listed high in a Google or other search engine search. This is a particular problem when dealing with companies that don’t even have customer service numbers. I wrote about this in detail in the Scam of the day for October 25, 2017.
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