/ Technology

Have you received the latest ‘Apple’ scam text?

Unwanted texts can be annoying, but ones that try to steal your personal information or bank details by pretending to be from a familiar source, such as the latest ‘Apple’ scam text, are downright frightening.

Over the past few months I’ve received some intriguingly familiar texts from unknown numbers.

The latest message came on Boxing Day from a number purporting to be Apple.

It read: ‘Your Apple account for (my number here) is now locked. Complete the form below to restore access.’ It was accompanied by a bit.ly link.

Apple scam text

Fortunately, I am aware that Apple would never contact me this way and identifying the text message as suspicious, I didn’t click on the link.

But it’s likely that other recipients have – or have done with previous messages from ‘Apple’, such as the one last May informing users that their Apple ID was about to expire.

Other scam texts

But the message from ‘Apple’ wasn’t the only scam text I’ve received of late.

I received duplicate texts on 29 November and 16 December telling me that I might quality for Government Debt Help. Apparently, I could have 85% of my debt written off, and all charges and fees frozen. Excellent, no more student loan repayments!

And on 13 October, I got one saying I could be owed £510 for a delayed or cancelled flight. My flight in September was only delayed by 10 minutes, so that would be a very generous compensation payment!

Spotting a fake

All sound too good to be true? That’s because they are.

Today, we’re increasingly contacted via text from unknown numbers for routine appointment reminders, including the dentist, the hairdresser’s and the doctor.

As a result, sometimes we no longer question the authenticity of what we receive or find it more difficult to discern the genuine messages from the fake.

But there are still a few questions you should ask yourself when you receive a text from an unknown number to help separate the scammers from the secretaries:

1. Have you been contacted out of the blue?
2. Is the deal too good to be true?
3. Have you been asked to share personal details?
4. Have you been pressured to respond quickly?
5. Are the contact details vague?
6. Are there any grammatical or spelling mistakes?
7. Are you asked to keep it quiet?

It’s also worth asking yourself whether the link itself or the URL of the landing page you’re taken to when you click the link looks suspicious.

Sometimes it can be difficult to see the URL properly on your phone, so make sure you examine it properly if you clicked on this.

If you think you may have received a scam message from a brand you are familiar with, it’s worth checking their homepage to see if the domain name of the landing page matches that of the official site.

Have you received this latest scam text pretending to be from Apple? What did you do about it? Or have you received a familiar scam text message from an unfamiliar number? If so, who did it appear to be from?

Comments
Member

I hope you won’t mind if I point out that the headline is rather misleading. In the full header you do mention scam texts from ‘other well known brands’ but the headline implies that this is an Apple problem, which it clearly isn’t.

I appreciate the efforts made to show this isn’t about Apple at all, but many could infer that from the headline. Yes; I routinely get scam emails from Apple, HSBC, HMRC, Debenhams, Tesco and others, but I always examine the landing page in any links, and, frankly, never follow links in emails anyway.

Perhaps that’s what Which?’s approach should be: to pressure companies and institutions to stop using hyperlinks in emails or texts and to help educate consumers into ignoring links in emails and texts completely.

Member
Clem says:
7 January 2017

“… educate consumers into ignoring links in emails and texts completely.”

I agree absolutely.

Member
Tracy says:
7 January 2017

Just this week I received a text – supposedly from HMRC – saying I was due quite a nice rebate. As I have recently added my mobile to my HMRC details and had just this week received confirmation from my accountant that I was due a refund I initially thought it was real. However, when I saw the form they wanted me to complete I realised it was a scam – they asked for account details of my credit card etc. So easily done if the contact made happens to coincide with other ‘related’ activities. Continued reporting is the key to mass awareness of these scams.

Member

I suspect the contact is not entirely coincidental, Tracy, and that information does leak from inside HMRC. Inside knowledge must be the source of a lot of fraudulent activity and gives it added credibility.

Member

I thought I was forewarned about these scams , being devoted to Which?, but recently fell for one at two o’clock in the morning which purported to have come from Microsoft (I’d previously been unable to send off a legitimate email) and which demanded I change my email password, because they had “installed an upgrade”.
Luckily. I came to my senses two minutes later and immediately re-changed the password but even so, an illegal Paypal purchase had ALREADY been put through!
Luckily, both MS and Paypal were extremely and immediately helpful over the telephone and they did sort things out for me but, even so, I lost most of a night’s sleep and felt a complete idiot. If I hadn’t been able to locate their phone numbers and ring them instantly – within minutes – to report the problem, heaven knows how much money I might have lost. As it is I have needed to cancel the Paypal account, which I’m sorry about. Heaven knows how much trouble these scams must be costing, never mind honest consumers, honest businesses too. Meg Little.

Member
Maureen Read says:
7 January 2017

I recently had an email purporting to be from PayPal saying someone had accessed my account. They wanted my details including bank details. I phoned PayPal who told me it wasn’t from them. It looked genuine though and I can understand how someone would be taken in. I’ve passed the email on to their fraud department.

Member
Member
Jillleon says:
7 January 2017

I’ve had several scam emails over the last few months. Luckily I know they happen and do not engage, but several make me laugh. For example “my account at NatWest had been suspended so I needed to click to reactivate it” -I’ve not had an account with them for over 25 years. Similar for Santander – and I’ve never had an acc with them. But the best are the HMRC ones, of which I’ve had several, all offering me a tax refund for year ending March 15, with amounts varying from £700ish up to over £1,900ish. Considering my income has been below the tax threshold for over 10 years, the idea of HMRC offering me a refund is laughable.
But I can see how some people would be taken in.
My policy is never click on any link I don’t know, and if I think the email may be genuine, either ring to check or email direct from the company’s website.

Member
kel meyler says:
7 January 2017

I get regular emails from the so called likes of Paypal, Barclaycard etc fortunately I am now aware of them and pass them on to the official spoof email address of the companies concerned., one thing about Paypal they do