There have been numerous reports of a scam targeting Apple users, which could possibly cost those who fall for it up to £50. The scam was first reported in the US around 9 months ago, and while it seemed to be exclusive to the US, it seems to now be affecting users in the UK. So how can you identify this scam, and more importantly, how can you get rid of it without your valuable information being stolen? Read on to find out.
iOS Crash Report scam: What is it?
The con, which disguises itself as a 'crash report' will be displayed within Safari on iPhones and iPads, which reads "Warning iOS Crash Report - Due to a third party application in your phone, iOS crashed. Contact support for an immediate fix". It also prompts the user to call a "toll free" number ('1-800-480-4170' in the US or '0800 279 6211' or '0800 652 4895' in the UK) and pay anything up to £50 for the 'representative' to 'fix' it.
It warns users that their details will be stolen if they don't call the number immediately, but of course, users are urged not to call the number as it isn't true. When users do call the number, a person answers the phone and claims that a third-party has been removing information from their device and that they need to pay money over the phone for the 'representative' to "reinstall iOS". However, in reality all the user is doing is handing over their bank details to scammers.
Nobody is sure of how these pop ups are appearing, but a popular theory among users is that certain website adverts have been infected with malicious code, transforming them into the 'crash reports' people are seeing on their iOS devices. It'd make sense if that was the case, as there are reports of the pop up appearing on otherwise popular and reputable websites.
Apple forum user Dizzer88 called the number last November to see what would happen, and posted the experience on an Apple forum about the scam. "I just had the same scam this evening." Dizzer88 wrote. "I too called the phone # to see what was going on. It went straight on hold when I called (didn't ring) and then when someone came on the line, it was a woman who I could barely hear due to the noise in the background."
The woman apparently stated that the users iPhone 5S software had crashed, and that a third-party was stealing all their information. She then went on to claim that for $80 (around £51.50), she could reinstall iOS for them - all they had to do was hand over their credit card information. "So I said that was ridiculous as I had been using apps and my phone the whole time I was talking to her on speaker and said I would call Apple Support directly. She told me they would say the same thing about having to pay to have iOS reinstalled on my phone."
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.