Criminals are always looking for a new angle to rip us off. When one scam doesn't work, they'll change things up and hope for a more profitable result.
They're also known for piggybacking on well-known scams, trying to trick unsuspecting victims into giving them personal data. There is a scam spreading like wildfire and you need to know how to avoid it.
How scammers are tricking people now
Have you heard about the group of hackers demanding a ransom from Apple? We recently told you that the "Turkish Crime Family" claims to have gained access to hundreds of millions of iCloud and Apple email accounts. They are giving Apple until April 7 to pay $700,000 or they say they will wipe every victims' gadget remotely and reset the victims' iCloud accounts.
What's happening now is, a new scam has popped up piggybacking on the hackers' threat. People are receiving phone calls from swindlers pretending to be from Apple support. The scammer tells the victim that the iCloud has been hacked and they need to verify their account details.
Warning, this is a scam!
You receive an automated message claiming to be from Apple support and are told that your iCloud account has been hacked. You're then redirected to a live person who is supposed to help take care of the issue.
Once they're on the line, the victim is asked for personal information and credentials to log into their Apple accounts. Some victims have even been asked to pay a fee to have antivirus software installed on their gadget. To make matters worse, it's not antivirus software that they're paying for, it's malware. Yikes!
What you need to do if you receive this scam call
This phone scam is another phishing attack. If you receive one of these calls you need to immediately hang up!
You also need to be prepared for the criminal to make several attempts at tricking you. Victims say they received the same call multiple times in a row before the scammer gave up. Since Apple's ransom deadline is rapidly approaching, we'll most likely see other scams down the road.
An important thing to remember is that Microsoft and Apple will never call you to warn of a security problem. It's hard to believe that so many people still fall for this.
Here are some ways you can defend against these types of attacks:
- Set up two-factor authentication - Two-factor authentication, also known as two-step verification, means that to log in to your account, you need two ways to prove you are who you say you are. It's like the DMV or bank asking for two forms of ID. Click here to learn how to set up two-factor authentication.
- Be cautious with links - If you get an email or notification that you find suspicious, don't click on its links. It could be a phishing attack. It's always better to type a website's address directly into a browser than clicking on a link. Before you ever click on a link, hover over it with your mouse to see where it is going to take you. If the destination isn't what the link claims, do not click on it.
- Watch for typos - Phishing scams are infamous for having typos. If you receive an email or notification from a reputable company, it should not contain typos. Take our phishing IQ test to see if you can spot a fake email.
- Check your online accounts - The site Have I Been Pwned allows you to check if your email address has been compromised in a data breach.
- Use unique passwords - Many people use the same password for multiple websites. This is a terrible mistake. If your credentials are stolen on one site and you use the same username and/or password on others, it's simple for the cybercriminal to get into each account. Click here to find out how to create hack-proof passwords.
- Backup your iPhone - You should backup your iPhone onto your computer through iTunes. If your phone ever gets wiped, you can restore it with your backup on iTunes. Click here to learn how to backup your iPhone.
- Have strong security software - Having strong protection on your family's gadgets is very important. The best defense against digital threats is strong security software.