Scammers impersonating Apple claim your cloud has child porn images

Scammers impersonating Apple claim your cloud has child porn images

Scammers have hit a new low in stooping. Taking the good reputation of Apple and marrying it with the despicability of child pornography, they’re hitting innocent consumers, holding them up for thousands of dollars in ransom to make the whole thing go away.

The scammers claim to be from Apple’s Special Investigations Unit. Official-sounding threats work like a charm and in this one, the kicker is that those so-called Apple cops tell the target that illegal child pornography has been discovered on their cloud account.  

“The phony investigator is sympathetic when you inform them that you never stored child pornography on the cloud or anywhere else,” is how Scam of the Day’s Steven Weisman set up the scam.

“He tells you that most likely the child pornography was somehow planted by a hacker on your computer and it is being backed up in the cloud.  In order to remedy the problem, the phony Apple investigator tells you he needs remote access to your computer in order to locate and remove the child pornography from your computer. “

At that point, the claws come out. The phony Apple rep asks for thousands of dollars to fix the situation, but what’s worse is the victims not only have to fork out money for a toothless threat, but to “repair” the issue, they give the Apple scammer access to their computer.

Then, the scammer installs a variety of malware that opens up a whole new can of worms leading to identity theft and further scams.

The telltale sign to look out for

The one place where these scammers expose themselves to anyone who knows the slightest about scams is that they ask for… gift cards. As you know, no company – especially not Apple – is going to ask for gift cards. 

Another telltale sign is the name “Apple” popping up on your Caller ID. Caller ID can be “spoofed” pretty easily, but with impersonation scams being what they are, you should let the call go to voice mail – especially if you don’t even own an Apple product.

Another tripwire is that Apple – or any other Big Tech company – is going to call to say that there’s child porn sitting on your computer. Weisman says Apple doesn’t even have a Special Investigations Unit. 

“As for enabling someone to have remote access to your computer, you should never do so unless you have absolutely confirmed that the remote access is legitimately warranted and the person to whom you are giving the remote access is also legitimate,” Weisman added.

The child porn game is not the only ploy scammers are using

There has been a surge in phishing attacks targeting Apple users. Scammers use tactics such as “push bombing” and phone call spoofing to trick users into resetting their Apple ID passwords and compromising their personal data.

Example: A 68-year-old woman from Sioux Falls, S.D., fell victim to a scam where she received a fake notification from “Apple Security.” She was directed to call a number, which led her to withdraw $58,000 from multiple banks under the pretense of securing her funds. The scammers posed as federal agents and used convincing tactics to manipulate her.

You simply can’t be too careful anymore. Experts warn that these scams are highly believable, so be careful about trusting the integrity of what your Caller ID shows — and whatever you do, don’t buy anyone who says they can “fix” things, gift cards.

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