iPhone scam: urgent warning over iCloud text phishing scam - and how to protect yourself

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  • New phishing text scam has been spotted and its targetting iPhone users.
  • It attempts to gain access to users iCloud details.
  • Apple users urged to turn on two-factor authentication.

An urgent warning has been issued to iPhone users over a new scam. Victims are being targeted by scammers using phishing tactics in an attempt to steal personal information. 

Cyber experts have warned that the fraudsters are sending messages posing as Apple and are urging iPhone owners to be vigilant. The scam texts invite users to visit a link about an 'important request' for iCloud. 

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Apple themselves have also issued a warning to users about ‘social engineering’ scams, a form of targeted attacks that relies on impersonation, deception and manipulation to gain access to your personal data. In this attack, scammers will pretend to be representatives of a trusted company or entity over the phone or through other communication methods.

In these scams, the fraudsters will often use sophisticated tactics to persuade you to hand over personal details, such as sign-in credentials, security codes and financial information. But what do users need to watch out for? 

Warning over iCloud scam text 

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American security firm Symantec have spotted the scam and have raised the alarm. Birmingham Live reports that the texts include a link that lead to fake websites designed to get users to cough up their Apple ID credentials. 

The company said: “These credentials are highly valued, providing control over devices, access to personal and financial information, and potential revenue through unauthorised purchases. Additionally, Apple's strong brand reputation makes users more susceptible to trusting deceptive communications that appear to be from Apple - further enhancing the attractiveness of these targets to cyber criminals."

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Apple issues security advice 

The tech giant warns that while phishing is one common tactic of social engineering, it is not the sole line of attack. Scammers will use any means they can to trick you into sharing information or giving them money, including:

  • Fraudulent emails and other messages that look like they're from legitimate companies, including Apple.
  • Misleading pop-ups and ads that say your device has a security problem.
  • Scam phone calls or voicemails that impersonate Apple Support, Apple partners and other well known or trusted entities or individuals.
  • Fake promotions that offer free products and prizes.
  • Unwanted Calendar invitations and subscriptions.

If you’re suspicious about an unexpected message, call or request for personal information, such as your email address, phone number, password, security code or money, it’s safer to presume that it’s a scam – contact that company directly if you need to.

How to protect yourself? 

Both Symantec and Apple advise iPhone owners to turn on two-factor authentication to better protect themselves from potential scammers. The feature is an extra layer of security for your Apple ID, designed to make sure that you're the only one who can access your account—even if someone else knows your password.

To turn on two-factor authentication on your Apple device (be it iPhone, iPad or iPod touch) go to your settings, click your name and go to sign-in and security. Tap Turn On Two-Factor Authentication. Then tap Continue and follow the onscreen instructions.

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The tech giant also advises to never use Apple Gift Cards to make payments to other people. Owners are also advised to only download software from sources you can trust.

You should also avoid answering suspicious phone calls or messages claiming to be from Apple. Instead, contact Apple directly through our official support channels.

It is not just iPhone owners who need to remain vigilant for phishing scams, all of us need to be on guard. Especially as WCPO 9 warns that these scams are worse than ever as the channel issues advice for what to watch out for - watch the full video here.