If you get an unexpected call from Apple, just assume it’s a scam. There, that sounds easy! But in reality, it’s a bit more difficult to convince yourself that an urgent call about your Apple account is actually fake. This is how phishing works – the fake message makes you just nervous enough to give away personal information that you really, really shouldn’t.
To underline the message, let’s take a look at the phishing schemes currently targeting Apple users, and why phone calls about your Apple account just can’t be trusted.
Latest Scams Seek Apple iCloud Accounts
For the past year or so, phishing callers have been focusing on iCloud accounts. They will call up or leave a voicemail about how Apple security was compromised, and your iCloud data may have been stolen or left vulnerable. They will ask you for account details so they can “ensure security” and “help you reset your Apple ID.”
Of course, this message is designed to make people panic and immediately give out personal information without thinking about it.
It’s also well-timed. In these days of ubiquitous cloud data storage, more people are worrying about just how vulnerable their data is and who can see it, so iCloud data is a common pressure point. Additionally, the latest news on China hacking Apple servers – something Apple has sworn to Congress did not happen – has many even more worried about how they are using iCloud.
These calls can be convincing. Many of them may even come up as from “Apple Inc.” or “Apple Support” or a similar name the scammer has tagged the number with. They may even steal real Apple store numbers!
But let’s be clear, iCloud has not (at this time) ever been compromised. The only cases of hacked Apple data involved stolen third party account information that happens to match Apple account logins, too. Apple is not calling people over iCloud breaches. It just isn’t happening.
Even newer phishing attempts involve pretending to be from Apple Care. This is another clever move from the scammers: Apple Care is the warranty and support service that people get when they purchase an iPhone or similar iPhone device.
If you get a call from “Apple Care” or a message/email that suggests you call an Apple Care number, be very careful!
Don’t trust any number or email that the message gives you.
Instead, always go to Apple’s own support site and use the contact options found there. Be sure to ask about any particular reason you were given to call, to see if it was fake. (Spoiler alert: It was fake!)
Apple Simply Doesn’t Make Proactive Calls
Ultimately, Apple doesn’t really do proactive calls. When Apple wants to communicate with customers, it tends to send emails. If you receive a call or text from “Apple” without you initiating the conversation, it’s almost guaranteed to be a scam.
When it doubt, always check out the information by calling or chatting with a real Apple representative. If the caller tries to push you to give up more information and insists it’s necessary for security, then you know it’s phishing and can happily hang up.
Note: We’re talking mostly about phone calls here, but these phishing schemes also use emails. Remember to watch emails carefully and make sure they are from Apple. Official Apple emails don’t require a direct response, among many other ways to spot a scammy email.