While just about everyone is aware of the term “phishing” which is the name for a scam in which you are contacted 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, few people are aware of the term “vishing.” Vishing is the name for a phishing scam when it is done through a phone call rather than an email. An extremely sophisticated vishing scam is targeting iPhone users. The scam starts with a robocall to your iPhone that appears on your phone as if it really did originate with Apple. Your iPhone screen shows the Apple logo, address and even appears to come from the a real phone number of Apple. The call however, is not from Apple. Most of these calls are originating in India and they are spoofed calls which means that although the caller is able to manipulate your Caller ID so that it appears as if the call is coming from a different number other than where it is really coming from. Spoofing is used by scammers in a wide variety of impostor scams including many that people are receiving that appear to come from the IRS demanding payment for overdue taxes when the truth is the call is from a scammer who has merely used spoofing to make the call appear to come from the IRS.
People receiving this vishing phone call from scammers posing as Apple tech support are told in a recorded message that there has been a security breach at Apple and that the customer needs to call Apple customer support at a number the call provides. If you call the number, you are calling a scammer who then will either ask for a payment for necessary tech support or personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.
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. People receiving the call should go to the Apple support page www.support.apple.com and request to have a real customer support person call you back. When you go to the real Apple support page to request a call, you will be given a case ID number to track your inquiry. Someone calling you back from the real Apple will have this case ID number. A scammer will not.
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