Jeremy Johnson

Jeremy Johnson

Scammers trying to get your personal information may not be new, but con artists are always re-working their jam, looking for ways to make them harder to spot. One of the newest is coming to your iPhone, and it is very convincing. It’s enough to trick even the savviest consumers into paying fake tech support fees without ever knowing they were fooled.

The Better Business Bureau has seen this work when a consumer receives an unsolicited call on their cell phone, which the caller ID identifies as “Apple Inc.” The phone number matches the official Apple number (1-800-MY APPLE).

The call is pre-recorded and says there is a serious threat to your phone or computer. They may say that multiple servers containing Apple user IDs have been compromised and your information is at risk. Or the call may simply claim that your device has been compromised.

The consumer is then asked to “Press 1” for customer service or it will give you a different call back number to contact. If you speak with the alleged customer service rep, they claim, “your phone or computer is at extreme risk,” and press you for immediate action. Then, they will ask for your personal information or make a payment so they can fix the problem. Once the scammers have what they want, they may block your number or simply stop answering your calls.

This type of number spoofing is frustrating and can make you question your caller ID. The Better Business Bureau recommends if your caller ID says a reputable company is calling, keep in mind that caller ID is easily faked. So being skeptical every time you answer your phone can save you a lot of hassle.

The best plan of action when you receive a call from a company or government agency is to hang up and contact them yourself directly. You should look up the customer service number yourself on the company’s official website to make sure you get in contact with the right people.

Also never give your full name, address, Social Security/Social Insurance number, banking information, or other sensitive information unless you are certain you’re talking to the actual company or government agency. Never give this information out to someone who calls you unsolicited.

Unfortunately for many of us, these calls aren’t going to stop. But following these tips and staying savvy will help you avoid falling victim. Another way to avoid these scams and stay one step ahead of scammers is by subscribing to BBB’s weekly Scam Alert emails.

Jeremy Johnson is the Eastern Idaho Marketplace Manager for the Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific. Contact the BBB at 208-342-4649 or email to info@thebbb.org.