UPDATED BELOW June 15, 2019:
A TDS reader contacted us late in May to say that she received five scam calls in just two days claiming to be from Apple computer. The automated message said there was a problem with her “Apple device” and to press a number to be directed to the Apple Support Advisor. She hung up but sent us an audio recording (see below). She looked up the phone number displayed by Caller ID only to discover that it was for an Apple store in another part of the country. She called it and got a recorded message saying that the store’s phone number was being spoofed by criminals who were trying to get personal information from Apple Customers.
On June 15, 2019 a TDS reader contacted us to say that she had received a call from 800-692-7753. (This is Apple computer’s REAL support phone number.) On the phone was a young man with an accent, possibly middle eastern, who sounded like he could be in his mid twenties. The caller claimed to be from Apple Tech support and was calling to provide “support assist” so he could make some adjustments to the woman’s Apple account. Our reader happened to be in IT and knew immediately this was a scam call. The scammer kept telling the woman to look online at the support phone number provided on the Apple website to see that it is the same as the callerID to on the woman’s phone. So the woman said she would hang up and call him back on the Apple phone number, and did just that! And, while her phone was ringing the “real” Apple support number, the scammer was calling her back again and again on the other line. The scammer kept calling back the whole time our savvy reader was reporting the scam call to Apple. Finally, our TDS reader answered the scammer’s call again and let him know that she knew it was a scam and that she was reporting it to the FBI. The scammer got really indignant and said “Ma’am, look at the phone number! It’s the same as the one on the support website.” The scammer asked her why she would say that he was a scammer. He even started to raise his voice so she finally hung up on him! And then she told us… “Everyone knows with the new IP phone systems you can make any number show on a caller ID.” Correct! These scammers make it look like the real Apple phone number is calling you, but it isn’t!
IMPORTANT UPDATE 6/25/18:
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:
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.
Anytime 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.