The sheer number of iPhone, iPad and MacBook owners means that Apple users are now rich pickings for cyber-criminals. They are especially attractive for those looking to target as many people as possible with phishing scams, which try to dupe you into divulging sensitive personal information.
Cyber-crime is a very lucrative business, so it’s safe to assume these fake Apple text messages and emails aren’t set to stop any time soon. Apple has repeatedly stated that it will never ask users to give personal details over text message or email, but even the most sceptical among us can be fooled into thinking we’ve been sent legitimate correspondence.
We’ve rounded up the most common types of fake Apple correspondence to make it easier for you to spot when you’re being scammed.
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The Apple fake invoice email scam
If you’ve received an invoice for something you haven’t ordered or paid for, the chances are it’s a fake. These counterfeit invoices are usually pretty convincing, but there are clues that indicate it’s not authentic.
The official Apple email address is email@example.com, so the below email is clearly from a bogus sender. The VAT calculation is completely wrong and it’s been purchased from an unfamiliar device with an incorrect name that doesn't match the email recipient's.
Apple invoices will never have a hyperlink to cancel and manage your subscriptions, and if you hover your mouse over the underlined link you’ll see a strange web address. Do not ever click on the URL.
The Apple fake iMessage or SMS text scam
Scams aren't simply sent by email - these days, you're just as likely to receive one by text message. The example below is a type of scam text that iPhone users may receive.
The message arrives from an unknown sender. Though the text claims to relate to an Apple account, there's no Apple name for the sender - only an anonymised phone number with an overseas code.
You're told to tap a link (which gives no preview of where it will take you) to fill in some information. This is a key way for scammers to harvest login details, which they can then use to access accounts or finances.
What should you do with a fake email or text?
Always err on the side of safety, so contact Apple Support if you’re in doubt about the authenticity of a message. You can chat to its experts via web chat or on Twitter (@AppleSupport), or you can schedule a time for it to call you to discuss the issue. Do not click on any links within suspicious texts or emails and certainly don’t open any attachments.
It’s important to report any suspected email phishing attempts to firstname.lastname@example.org – this is a monitored email inbox but it doesn’t generate individual email replies. If it’s a suspicious SMS text you’ve received through iMessage, forward it on to email@example.com.
You can flag emails as spam to ensure any further correspondence from that sender doesn’t go into your inbox. For texts, you can open the message, click on Details in the upper-right-hand corner and then tap the information button which is a lowercase ‘i’ in a circle. Scroll down and you’ll see the option to Block this Caller, which prevents any more messages from that person coming through to your phone.
Inform Apple Support straightaway if you think your Apple ID has been compromised. It can help determine if an unauthorised person has gained access to your account and assist you in regaining control of it.