Yesterday, I received a succession of nine (!) phonecalls from #424-204-4290, with the phone ID saying it’s from Apple Inc, claiming that my Apple iCloud account had been breached. The robotic voice said to punch the number one on my phone to speak to a security person.
Since I neither have an Apple device nor an iCloud account, I hung up on the call. After three phonecalls, I simply refused to answer the calls and let the phone rang. After the ninth phonecall, I left my phone off the hook.
On a hunch, I did a search on the net about “Apple iCloud security breach” and found several websites warning that the phonecalls are a scam.
Business Insider warned in March 2017:
If you get a phone call claiming to be from Apple warning of an iCloud breach, beware: It’s a trick.
Telephone scammers are cold-calling people, claiming that iCloud, Apple’s cloud service, has been hacked, and asking them to give up their accounts details….
There are numerous accounts of people being called by the fraudsters online. Glenn Fleishman, writing for Macworld, says his wife was called five times by them. Twitter is full of similar tales — with some people falling for the phishing scam….
The scam is a simple one. The potential victim receives an automated message that claims to be from Apple’s support, telling them there is an issue with their iCloud account or that it has been breached. They’re then put through to a human to “help” them.
Kiro 7 spoke to people in Seattle who were targeted who said they were then asked for “personal information,” which could potentially give the scammer access to the victim’s account, allowing them to make purchases or do whatever else they want.
Or, as Macworld points out, these scammers sometimes direct the victim to install “antivirus software” — in reality, malware — onto their computers, and charge them for the privilege.
Apple advises its users that you should “never provide personal account information–including your Apple ID password, credit card info, or other personal information–by email or text message, and use extreme caution when clicking links in messages or sharing information over the phone. Instead, visit the company’s website directly or call them yourself.”
The bottom line is there is no security breach of iCloud, and the phone calls are fraudulent. Don’t engage the fraudsters. Just hang up! — and be sure to warn your family and friends, especially older people who are not tech savvy and are susceptible to these scams.
To report the scam to the FBI, click here.
Note: Many scam and robocalls direct people to press “1” on their phone keypads if they want more information, or to press “9” to be taken off the calling list. Both actions are counterproductive: You’re only signaling to the caller that a real person has been reached, which means the scam or robo caller will keep calling you.
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