FTC warns of new Apple support call scam

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2020
Scammers are once again using the biggest names in tech to pry personal information from unsuspecting consumers, with the latest gambit involving fake calls from Apple support.

Spam


Flagged by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Thursday, scammers are invoking robocalling techniques to glean credit card numbers, account passwords and other sensitive data from Apple and Amazon customers.

The scamming effort is detailed in a blog post that warns consumers of suspicious calls claiming to be from Apple or Amazon support services. Both ask users to follow prompts that ultimately divulge personal information.

In the case of Apple, call recipients are informed of supposedly suspicious iCloud account activity or an outright breach. Fake calls from Amazon are similarly worded, claiming a user's account shows suspicious purchase activity, a lost package, or problems with a recent order, the FTC says.

Robocalls are forwarded to "customer support" personnel with user interaction. Alternatively, victims are instructed to dial a support center phone number, likely a contingency for phishing calls sent to voicemail.

The FTC tells consumers to disregard the instructions. If Apple or Amazon account holders believe there is a problem with their account, they should attempt to make contact using only legitimate phone numbers or websites that can be independently verified.

With its large -- and typically well-heeled -- customer base, Apple is a preferred target for scammers. Early last year, for example, a particularly sneaky phishing operation involved robocalls that appeared to originate from AppleCare's 1-800-MY-APPLE number.
taf1987

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,380member
    I've received calls from both scammer camps in the past two months.

    The Apple one was pretty much as described here (my iCloud account is locked due to suspicious activity), but in the Amazon one it was a "Thank you for your order of an Apple iPhone in the amount of $997, scheduled to ship tomorrow. If this order is correct you need to do nothing, your credit card is being charged prior to shipment. If the order was placed in error please press one to be connected to an Amazon customer service representative"
    muthuk_vanalingamviclauyyc
  • Reply 2 of 20
    gatorguy said:
    I've received calls from both scammer camps in the past two months.

    The Apple one was pretty much as described here (my iCloud account is locked due to suspicious activity), but in the Amazon one it was a "Thank you for your order of an Apple iPhone in the amount of $997, scheduled to ship tomorrow. If this order is correct you need to do nothing, your credit card is being charged prior to shipment. If the order was placed in error please press one to be connected to an Amazon customer service representative"
    Sometimes I get emails sent to my alias email address.  I don't have my name associated with those alias email addresses.  It's funny, they also start with Dear email address, not my name.  When I see that, yep, it's a scam.  

    I haven't received any scam phone calls regarding my Apple iCloud account.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,961member
    I get these kind of scam calls often.  I actually got to the point to looking forward to receiving them.  I end up wasting their time and doing my best to get them upset.  The really fun part is I'll play some background soundtracks of goats.  That really riles them up!
    Dogpersonpulseimagesmuthuk_vanalingammacseekerwatto_cobraviclauyyc
  • Reply 4 of 20
    I got a scam call like this. The scammer instructed me to download an app from the iPhone App Store that allows screen sharing with another user, presumably to grab passwords. 

    Judging by the reviews of this app, it’s a common scammer technique. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    sflocal said:
    I get these kind of scam calls often.  I actually got to the point to looking forward to receiving them.  I end up wasting their time and doing my best to get them upset.  The really fun part is I'll play some background soundtracks of goats.  That really riles them up!
    Yup, I did this myself once when I had a call from a man who said he was a Microsoft representative. I asked him if he worked for Microsoft and he said he was a Microsoft representative, which is not the same thing. 

    Anyway, he said they’d flagged a problem on my Windows machine and MS was offering a free service to make sure my machine was okay. 

    I strung him along for 15 minutes by not being able to get my internet working, not being sure what a router was, not being able to find my web browser, not being able to turn off the firewall …

    He got really confused, so suggested a reboot.  

    Then he asked me what I could see. 

    I said a big Apple logo. 

    And he hung up. 

    Which I thought was a bit rude. 
    bestkeptsecretviclauyyckillroybala1234
  • Reply 6 of 20
    fred1fred1 Posts: 949member
    I got calls several times from a supposed Microsoft rep telling me to download software to my Windows computer so they can fix it. For some reason they always got confused when I told them I don’t have a Windows computer!  :*,
    If anyone calls “from Apple” I’ll just say that I prefer peaches. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 20
    Unfortunately these scams work.  It seems so obvious to most that these are scams, but they wouldn't do them if they didn't pay off.  I've spent countless hours on YouTube watching videos of scam debunkers tracking calls and watching as people happily give total control of their computer to these scammers and log into their bank account.  A lot of them are based on the technique of claiming there is a refund waiting and asking them to enter the amount of the refund, say $1,000, but then the scammer overrides the amount to $10,000 and tells the victim they typed it in wrong.  They are even able to manipulate the victim's bank account web site to make it look like they really did get $10,000 deposited.  At that point they ask the victim to refund back the $9,000 overpayment at which they will invoke a real transaction and poof the $9,000 is transferred out of their account to the scammer.  At the last minute, the debunkers will severe the call and then call the victim and let them know what was going on.  Most of the time it's senior citizen.  Very sad.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 20
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,476member
    An investigative journalism show in Canada went in depth on one of these scams a couple of years back and traced it back to India.  There was a follow up show earlier this year about it: 
  • Reply 9 of 20
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,067member
    sflocal said:
    I get these kind of scam calls often.  I actually got to the point to looking forward to receiving them.  I end up wasting their time and doing my best to get them upset.  The really fun part is I'll play some background soundtracks of goats.  That really riles them up!
    If you haven't checked out "Lenny", do so -- a chat bot to waste telemarketer time. Bunch of recordings on YouTube, it's hilarious.

    https://www.vice.com/en/article/d3b7na/the-story-of-lenny-the-internets-favorite-telemarketing-troll
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 10 of 20
    I got one of these iCloud calls and I let the guy talk to me and then I just laughed at him and called him a scammer, he hung up of course.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    killroykillroy Posts: 208member
    Rayz2016 said:
    sflocal said:
    I get these kind of scam calls often.  I actually got to the point to looking forward to receiving them.  I end up wasting their time and doing my best to get them upset.  The really fun part is I'll play some background soundtracks of goats.  That really riles them up!
    Yup, I did this myself once when I had a call from a man who said he was a Microsoft representative. I asked him if he worked for Microsoft and he said he was a Microsoft representative, which is not the same thing. 

    Anyway, he said they’d flagged a problem on my Windows machine and MS was offering a free service to make sure my machine was okay. 

    I strung him along for 15 minutes by not being able to get my internet working, not being sure what a router was, not being able to find my web browser, not being able to turn off the firewall …

    He got really confused, so suggested a reboot.  

    Then he asked me what I could see. 

    I said a big Apple logo. 

    And he hung up. 

    Which I thought was a bit rude. 
    LOL.
  • Reply 12 of 20
    fred1fred1 Posts: 949member
    sflocal said:
    I get these kind of scam calls often.  I actually got to the point to looking forward to receiving them.  I end up wasting their time and doing my best to get them upset.  The really fun part is I'll play some background soundtracks of goats.  That really riles them up!
    If you haven't checked out "Lenny", do so -- a chat bot to waste telemarketer time. Bunch of recordings on YouTube, it's hilarious.

    https://www.vice.com/en/article/d3b7na/the-story-of-lenny-the-internets-favorite-telemarketing-troll
    Great stuff. Thanks. 
    I have a friend who always says to telemarketers, whatever they’re selling, “But I don’t have a dog.” He just keeps repeating it.  I’ve used it too and it’s a lot of fun.
  • Reply 13 of 20
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,961member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Yup, I did this myself once when I had a call from a man who said he was a Microsoft representative. I asked him if he worked for Microsoft and he said he was a Microsoft representative, which is not the same thing. 

    Anyway, he said they’d flagged a problem on my Windows machine and MS was offering a free service to make sure my machine was okay. 

    I strung him along for 15 minutes by not being able to get my internet working, not being sure what a router was, not being able to find my web browser, not being able to turn off the firewall …

    He got really confused, so suggested a reboot.  

    Then he asked me what I could see. 

    I said a big Apple logo. 

    And he hung up. 

    Which I thought was a bit rude. 
    Okay... that's funny. :)

    I had an I.R.S. scammer call me a while back.  Long story short, after wasting about 20 minutes of his time, he threatened to send a police officer to my house and "drag me up the courthouse steps".  His own words.

    I politely asked him to send two police officers.  Perplexed, he asked me "why?".  I told him that I weighed 215 pounds and I was worried I might hurt the police officer's back while he was "dragging me up those courthouse steps", so sending two police officers would be safer.

    A few choice words from him, followed by mocking laughing from me, he rudely hung up on me. :)



    fred1
  • Reply 14 of 20
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    You may have seen me complain about this in other threads but... I got over 20 of these calls, including voicemails, in one day.

    The act of warning us is a demonstration of how nothing at all is done about the problem. It takes actual regulation to make shit like this stop and our governments (both parties) have been utterly unmotivated to do what it takes to stop this insanity. Phones are virtually useless for voice communication because of scammers and advertising.

    DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,380member
    dysamoria said:
    You may have seen me complain about this in other threads but... I got over 20 of these calls, including voicemails, in one day.

    The act of warning us is a demonstration of how nothing at all is done about the problem. It takes actual regulation to make shit like this stop and our governments (both parties) have been utterly unmotivated to do what it takes to stop this insanity. Phones are virtually useless for voice communication because of scammers and advertising.

    DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
    FWIW all my suspect calls are screened automatically and unless I override it within a couple of rings my phone will ask the caller for their name and what they are calling about, then transcribe it for me. If I want to answer I can. Otherwise the caller is advised I'm not available. Calls from known scammers are automatically refused.

    If everyone's phone did that it would go a long way towards discouraging these types of calls. No organization wants to waste time and money trying to scam call us if no one answers. 
    edited December 2020 dpiper14
  • Reply 16 of 20
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,940member
    I would like to get an iOS app that simply plays the sound of a fax answering machine whenever I launch it, so I can play it when I answer the phone. There's a good chance that any scammer will auto-detect that sound and hang up, but a human caller would hear me say "Hello" at the same time, and if they were a legit caller, I'd terminate the app. If they were a scammer I'd keep playing the app really loudly and ask why they called a fax number.
    edited December 2020
  • Reply 17 of 20
    Scammers are once again using the biggest names in tech to pry personal information from unsuspecting consumers, with the latest gambit involving fake calls from Apple support.

    Spam


    Flagged by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Thursday, scammers are invoking robocalling techniques to glean credit card numbers, account passwords and other sensitive data from Apple and Amazon customers.

    The scamming effort is detailed in a blog post that warns consumers of suspicious calls claiming to be from Apple or Amazon support services. Both ask users to follow prompts that ultimately divulge personal information.

    In the case of Apple, call recipients are informed of supposedly suspicious iCloud account activity or an outright breach. Fake calls from Amazon are similarly worded, claiming a user's account shows suspicious purchase activity, a lost package, or problems with a recent order, the FTC says.

    Robocalls are forwarded to "customer support" personnel with user interaction. Alternatively, victims are instructed to dial a support center phone number, likely a contingency for phishing calls sent to voicemail.

    The FTC tells consumers to disregard the instructions. If Apple or Amazon account holders believe there is a problem with their account, they should attempt to make contact using only legitimate phone numbers or websites that can be independently verified.

    With its large -- and typically well-heeled -- customer base, Apple is a preferred target for scammers. Early last year, for example, a particularly sneaky phishing operation involved robocalls that appeared to originate from AppleCare's 1-800-MY-APPLE number.

  • Reply 18 of 20
    My calls started yesterday from a 1-816-365 number (Kansas city) it happens all afternoon I blocked every number including one so far today 
  • Reply 19 of 20
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,151member
    I would like to get an iOS app that simply plays the sound of a fax answering machine whenever I launch it, so I can play it when I answer the phone. There's a good chance that any scammer will auto-detect that sound and hang up, but a human caller would hear me say "Hello" at the same time, and if they were a legit caller, I'd terminate the app. If they were a scammer I'd keep playing the app really loudly and ask why they called a fax number.
    I don't think apps can output audio while you're on a phone call.  Get another device to make your clever noises and infallible and not at all annoying method for dealing with a problem that's already solveable by pressing the hang up button. 
  • Reply 20 of 20
    Dave CummingsDave Cummings Posts: 40unconfirmed, member
    I’ve had a dozen of these Apple Scam calls today.  All from different numbers, all with the same recording of “Olivia” from Apple Support.  It seems like every day, I’ll get about a dozen calls from a different scam.  Most of the time its for some healthcare thing or insurance crap.  It’s a shame its all recordings,  I’d give them a ton of choice words 
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