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Apple Tech Support Scams

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IMPORTANT UPDATE, February 25 2018:
We have been hearing from several people who describe getting multiple automated calls from different numbers claiming to represent Apple.  The voice recording claims that your Apple computer or iCloud Account has been hacked and they are calling to notify and help you.  Press 1 to speak to tech support.  Here's what one woman said on February 23...

"Yesterday I received 4 calls - started out with automated voice- then click 1 to get a real person. They said that my Apple computer was being hacked. I told them I wasn’t interested and hung up.  After the third and fourth call I told them to take me off their call list because I knew that they are scammers. This morning it’s starting all over again - to the point I was screaming at them to take me off their call list (I am very mild mannered and don’t scream but these people are pushing me over the top!), then hung up."

APPLE COMPUTER WILL NEVER CALL YOU TO TELL YOUR ACCOUNT HAS BEEN HACKED OR COMPROMISED IN ANY WAY!  

(UPDATED 12-26-17 below) Most people have heard of the scam calls from people pretending to be from Microsoft Windows tech support. We previously posted this article with permission from Windows Secrets newsletter about this scam and also reported on a scam from a phony Microsoft Account Rep who targeted schools, but we've never heard about these scams targeting Apple computer owners.... Until now.

One of our readers recently told us about a popup she received stating that there were problems with her Apple computer and urging her to call Apple's tech support service called SARATEL Communication.

It didn't take us long to discover that SARATEL is a scam that seems to originate in India and targeting Apple computer owners with bogus support and trumped up support charges for nothing at all.  Check out these complaints about SARATEL Communications:

From Apple's Discussion Boards:  https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7140054

Scam Advisor's site rating: http://www.scamadviser.com/check-website/saratelcommunication.net

A WHOIS lookup of SARATEL Communication shows that the website was registered in March, 2015 by someone from India named Sandeep Sharma.

Here's what one visitor reported in early October on DoNotCall.site about these popups and calls... "Hacked my computer. Pops ups said to call Apple Support immediately @ 800-458-1483 and 855-854-4576. Sold me a "protection shield" lifetime plan. Supposedly these numbers go to company called Saratel. Confirmed with Apple that this is not a legitimate number for their company. The only Apple Technical Support is 1-800-my-apple (800-692-7753). Do not give this firm access to your computer."

Check out these screenshots recently posted on the Apple Discussion boards about tech support scams.

Other Apple Tech Support Scams recently written about across the web:
https://blog.malwarebytes.org/fraud-scam/2015/10/tech-support-scammers-impersonate-apple-technicians/
http://fortune.com/2015/10/22/apple-mac-tech-suppot-scam/

UPDATE 12/26/17:
One of our readers contacted us have getting the message you see below in Safari on her Mac.  This trick is intended to scare her into calling the phone number 888-649-7615.  DO NOT CALL THIS NUMBER!  The paragraph at the bottom of the message is a bunch of BS.  Our reader was re-directed from a hacked website to the domain "computer-sh44-DOT-stream."  This domain was registered on December 15 using a private proxy service in Panama.  The website description is "Google."  Like that's believable.

BOTTOM LINE:
badappleAnytime you see popups on your computer informing you that you need support, you have a virus/malware, your computer has been logged as trying to access child pornography... whatever, DON'T believe it.  ...And please don't call the number or click links.  Instead, take a screen shot and send it to us!  Help us spread the word and make it harder for these scammers to do business.

Update 10/17/16: Study finds Tech Support scammers preying on Young Americans --From NakedSecurity.com

On March 28, 2018, the FBI put out this warning about Tech Support Scams.  Apparently, more they received more than 11,000 complaints in 2017 about these scams, resulting in millions of dollars in losses to consumers.

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