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Apple ID hoax and phishing explained

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  • 6 min read

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Apple ID phishing scams are gaining traction lately. As more and more users are switching to Apple, scammers and hackers see a goldmine of options by targeting the Apple ecosystem.

Protecting yourself from phishing campaigns is quite easy. However, with artificial intelligence and psychology, scammers are pulling off some of the most intricate and sophisticated scams targeting unsuspecting customers.

In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of Apple ID hoaxes and phishing attacks, equipping you with the knowledge and methods to protect yourself.

Here’s what we will cover:


What is Apple ID?

Apple ID is an essential mechanism for accessing various services and products from Apple. When you buy an Apple product for the first time, the device prompts you to create an Apple ID to use the product.

It is a unique identifier that can be created using an email and password. Apple ID can be accessed across all Apple products — iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches.

Using this ID, you can easily purchase apps and games from the App Store, sync data across multiple Apple devices, and access important services like iMessage and iCloud.

You can also use the Apple ID to find your device remotely if it gets lost or stolen.

Also read: Is Palworld a scam?


Initial communication from scammers

What is phishing? Types of phishing scams and how to protect yourself?

Now that we have understood what Apple ID is, let us understand how the scammers will contact you:

Phishing emails

Emails have emerged as a primary mode of communication for companies, and scammers know this. This is why many phishing campaigns use emails as an initial vector.

Scammers create fake Apple communication in these emails to trick people into clicking malicious links. Scammers play with their emotions and minds to lure people into doing this.

For example, scammers might send you an email claiming that your Apple ID has been hacked, and you should immediately click on the link to reset your password. Anyone with little or no cybersecurity best practices will promptly attempt the password change. When the victim enters the real Apple ID and password, scammers will scrap the data and use it to purchase products or apps.


Text messages

Another way scammers can contact people is via test messages. In text messages, the modus operandi remains the same: to lure victims into clicking on the link.

The scammers may represent Apple and ask you to provide the Apple ID and password to fix some issues. When they hear of technical problems, people often do not hesitate to provide their Apple IDs to the scammers.

Furthermore, scammers can also send a text message promising a reward. But in return, you must provide your Apple ID for ‘confirmation’.


Fake phone calls

Finally, scammers will contact you directly on your phone. These scammers are quite experienced and can access your Apple ID through their manipulative skills and social engineering knowledge.

These scammers often contact older people or teenagers with little or no knowledge of how phishing works.

Also read: How to report a scam on Craigslist?


Spotting the phishing scam

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It is quite easy to spot a scam. All you need is a basic understanding of the process and apply common sense. Here are some things that you should note if anyone asks for your personal information by email, text or call:

  • Check the language of the email. As most official communication happens in English, non-native English speakers might make grammatical errors in the email.
  • You should be extremely cautious if an email asks you to click on a link or provide your personal information.
  • Check the sender’s email address. Official Apple emails will contain @apple.com. Scammers, however, will try to use similar-sounding names such as applle.com or aplee.com to alter the email address to slightly confuse users.
  • As we have seen earlier, the primary objective of scammers is to lure victims to click on a link or to perform some other act. For this, the victim must feel sufficiently threatened or elated. So, most scamming emails will either use a threatening tone, a sense of urgency or offer some great reward.
  • Any communication asking for your personal information is likely to be a scam.

Also read: Is ID.me a scam?


Preventive measures that you can take

Let us understand what preventive measures you can take to protect yourself from these scams:

  • Deploy two-factor authentication: A two-factor authentication (2FA) is probably the easiest and best way to protect yourself. Although not 100% effective, 2FA works against most phishing campaigns.
  • Strong passwords: A strong password, with a judicious combination of characters, numbers and special characters, is another preventive measure that you can take. Head to this article to understand how to choose a strong password to secure your account.
  • Update security questions: Security questions are like ID cards that confirm your identification. Normally, the answers to security questions are unique, and it is quite easy for the system to root out the scammer if they answer them wrong.
  • Update your operating system: An updated OS protects you against many bugs and malware. So, make it a habit to check for updates regularly, regardless of the OS.

Also read: Is Signal app used for scamming?


Suspect a scam on your Apple ID?

Here are some steps that you should take if you suspect that the Apple ID scam is in process:

  • Immediately change your login credentials.
  • Run a malware scan on your system.
  • Contact and report the phishing campaign at reportphishing@apple.com.
  • Keep an eye out for any suspicious activity on your account.
  • Contact the authorities. In India, you can contact CERT-In, a premier cybersecurity agency, at info@cert-in.org.in. If you are a resident of the United States, contact the Federal Trade Commission or the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

If you have clicked on the phishing link, head to this article to understand what steps you should take to protect yourself.

In conclusion, in an Apple ID scam, victims are lured into clicking the malicious link thinking that their Apple ID has been hacked. The scammers may contact you via email, SMS or call and will try to gain information. However, by following the best practices that we have provided above, you can easily detect and then nullify the scam.

Also read: Is Kashkick a scam?

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: kumarhemant@pm.me

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