Stay Safe: Everything you need to know about the tricks fraudsters play


scams

As much as one would want to believe otherwise, fraudsters are always coming up with new plans and ideas to get a hold of valuable personal information or to trick you to get a hold of some extra cash. One of the best forms of ammunition against becoming a victim of fraud is knowing what to look out for. We have put together a list of tips and warnings that will help prevent you from being duped by individuals selling Apple products or posing as Apple in order to steal your personal information. It is by no means exhaustive but it will be updated as and when we have new reports of any new scams out there - so check in on this page regularly.

Email Scams

Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending an email, claiming to be from a reputable company in order to get the individual to follow a process that reveals their personal information like passwords and credit card information. There are several fraudulent emails, going around that appear to come from Apple, that request you to confirm your personal account information. The emails will contain links or attachments to non-Apple websites (even though they may appear to be legitimate) - these are malicious and should not be opened or clicked on. 

 

How to recognise a fraudulent email:

1.  Apple will never ask you to provide personal or sensitive information via email e.g.: passwords or credit card numbers.
2.  The sender’s email address does not match that of the company it is claiming to be.
3.  Although the link provided may seem to be legitimate, when you click on it, it takes you to a website that does not match the company that it says it is.
4.  The http of the website link that you click on is not secure. It should have a ’s’ in the URL, for example, https://www.companyname.com.
5.  The email begins with a generic greeting, most companies will address you by name.
6.  The email looks different from other emails that you have received from the same company previously. 

  

How to avoid email scams:

1.  Never click on a link unless you can verify the sender.
2.  Do not open or save attachments from an unknown sender. 
3.  Use a strong password for your Apple ID and always keep this information secure and up to date. 
4.  Use two-factor authentication. This means that your Apple ID can only be accessed on devices that you trust (such as your iPad, Mac and iPhone). If you log into another device for the first time you will be asked to provide your Apple ID password as well as a verification code that appears on one of your trusted devices. 

 

Some things you can do if you suspect you have been a victim of email fraud:

1.  If you have clicked a link and provided personal information, change your passwords immediately. 
2.  Report the scam to the real company that you thought the email scammer was representing.
3.  Update the security software on your device if you have not already done this.
4.  If you have ended up providing your credit card info, be sure to phone your bank immediately to cancel your card. Some banks also enable you to cancel cards on their Banking Apps or ATMs. 

 

SMS Scams

There is a SMS scam that targets individuals whose iPhones have been previously stolen. Here’s how it works:

1.  You receive a text message, that appears official, references the specific model of your stolen iPhone.
2.  The message prompts you to click on a link to verify and sign in with your Apple ID.
3.  It takes you to a page that looks very much like Apple’s page. The only way that you can recognise that it is, in fact, a fake is to scrutinise the URL. You will notice that it is different to an 4.  Apple URL, even though it appears to be secure (https://)
5.  This confidential account information will now get sent to the scammers who as a result have access to your Apple ID account.
 

Some things you can do if you suspect you have been a victim of SMS fraud:

1.  If you have clicked a link and provided personal information, change your passwords immediately. 
2.  Report the scam to the real company that you thought the email scammer was representing.
3.  Update the security software on your device if you have not already done this.

 

Fake iPhone Scams

There are a number of individuals attempting to sell “genuine” second hand or almost new iPhones to customers. This is often done via personal selling sites. The fraudsters will go as far as to provide the “original” invoice to the customer with proof of purchase of the dealer they purchased the iPhone from.

 

Some signs that an iPhone is fake:

1.  It is lighter than a regular iPhone.
2.  The font appears different to that of the font on a genuine iPhone.
3.  The operating system is Android, not iOS.
4.  The App Store looks different, but you will notice that it does have iCloud options.
5.  The Touch ID does not work properly, it is often just an ordinary button.
6.  The screen is not as clear, it appears to be more pixelated.
7.  Siri only works on a genuine iPhone.

In order to distinguish whether someone is trying to sell you a fake iPhone, you will need to physically inspect the iPhone. Ask the seller if you can take it to a technician together at a reputable dealer of your choice to inspect the iPhone. 

The seller may provide you with a proof of purchase for the device. Take special note of the details on the invoice, how it is laid out and what information is included. Contact the store to check if the invoice is legitimate and whether the device was in fact purchased from the store.

 You may also be asked to pay online and afterwards you will be provided with an invoice to collect the iPhone from the store, when in fact this store was not the one that sold it to you so the purchased item is subsequently not available. We recommend that you remain wary of purchasing any items online until you have inspected the device or done all the necessary checks. iStore only sells products at our physical brick-and-mortar stores in selected malls or on our online store located on www.myistore.co.za.

 

Some fraudsters are trying to trick people in to making payments over the phone for the likes of taxes, hospital bills, bail money and utility bills - they are even trying to trick people in to doing so with Gift cards and iTunes Gift Cards has not been overlooked. 

How does this happen? The victim will receive a call from someone requesting that they make an urgent payment by purchasing an iTunes Gift Card from their nearest retailer and sharing the 16-digit code on the back of the card with the caller. An important thing to remember is that you can only use your iTunes Gift Card to purchase goods and services on the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or for an Apple Music membership. If asked to purchase anything other than these, you are most likely being targeted by a scam.

 

To avoid being the victim of iTunes Gift Card scams:

If you are not purchasing goods and services on the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or an Apple Music membership, then do not make payment using your iTunes Gift Card. 
Never provide the numbers on the back of your iTunes Gift Card to someone you do not know.

 

Share this story