Apple's customer service is often unbeatable, but unfortunately, scammers have caught on to people's trust in the company. While many people consider themselves tech savvy these days, even those who are confident in their online skills may fall victim to a scam targeting Apple users. That's why you should make sure to ignore this message from "Apple" if it pops up on your computer. Read on to find out how to avoid this costly scam, and for more scams to be aware of, If You Get an Email From the IRS With These 3 Words, Don't Click on It.
If you get an alert from "Apple Support" on your computer, don't open it.
If you get an "Apple Support" alert on your Mac, it's not what you think it is. On April 9, USA Today warned of a major tech support scam that Apple users are falling for. The scam brought up a giant yellow "alert" for one MacBook Pro user, warning her that hackers were on her device and that she should reach out to the "Apple Support" number attached to the alert. However, after calling the number, the user ended up being conned out of $2,000.
"If you call the number you get a really nice voice on the other end, reiterating what grave danger you're in, but that they will, in essence, keep you from the real harm," Bob Sullivan, consumer security expert and host of AARP's Perfect Scam podcast, told USA Today. And for real warnings to heed, If You're Charging Your iPhone Like This, Apple Says Stop Immediately.
Apple says you should ignore any pop-up messages claiming to be from the company.
Apple won't send you a pop-up alert or message while you're browsing the internet. In fact, the company posted a warning on April 8, informing users that if they see this kind of alert about a problem with their device, they should ignore the message, navigate away from the page, or close the entire window. "While browsing the web, if you see a pop-up or alert that offers you a free prize or warns you about a problem with your device, don't believe it. These types of pop-ups are usually fraudulent advertisements, designed to trick you into giving the scammer personal information or money," Apple warns. "Don't call the number or follow the links to claim the prize or fix the problem." And for more urgent Apple warnings, Apple Just Released This Warning About the Latest iPhones.
Older adults are more vulnerable to this online tech support scam.
This tech support scam isn't necessarily new, but the way in which it is targeting older adults has changed, USA Today reports. In fact, an Oct. 2020 report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said that older adults are more likely to be victims of online, fraudulent computer repair scams masked as official "tech support."
"Tech support scams stand out for the disproportionate harm they may be causing older adults," the FTC said in a 2019 statement. "These scams usually start with a phone call or a pop-up warning of a computer problem that gives a number to call." And for more useful information delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
People are also falling victim to similar Microsoft scams.
According to the FTC, consumers have reported tech support scams most often claiming to be either Apple or Microsoft. However, Microsoft warns on their website that error and warning messages actually from the company "never include phone numbers." So if you see an alert or warning with a number attached claiming to be from Microsoft, don't click or open it.
"If a pop-up or error message appears with a phone number, don't call the number. Error and warning messages from Microsoft never include a phone number," Microsoft says. And for more fraudulent warnings, If You See This Message on Your Roku, Report It Immediately, Experts Say.