The Smith County Sheriff’s Office has received several complaints recently that residents are again being targeted by scammers.
The newest scam is targeting your “Apple Account”. The scammers state that your Apple Account has been compromised and they ask you to call a telephone number or follow a link to fix the problem.
The scam works a couple of different ways:
• Someone calls you pretending to be from Apple claiming that there has been a breach in the system — and they need your personal information to verify your account.
• Scammers send you an email or text that appears to be from Apple — saying that you’ve been the victim of a breach and you need reset your Apple ID account by clicking on the link provided in the message.
If you click on the link, it immediately gives the scammers access to your Apple account, including any stored personal information and payment information.
If you get the scam phone call, the caller claims to be from Apple’s support team and tries to trick unsuspecting victims into handing over access to their computer or account over the phone.
How to protect yourself from similar scams
Here is a general rule of thumb for avoiding these types of scams: Do not click on any link in any email or text message that you were not expecting. If you think there’s a legitimate message or notification intended for you, go directly to the official website of whatever business it is and check for any notifications there.
If you receive a message from an unknown number, delete it! Don’t open it, don’t click anything — just delete it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
If a company needs you to update your profile, you should be able to find that information by logging in to your account separately through the official site — or by calling the company directly.
Here are some additional tips to help you protect yourself from text message scams:
Just hit delete! Ignore instructions to confirm your phone number or visit a link. Some scam texts instruct you to text ‘STOP’ or ‘NO’ to prevent future texts. But this is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a real, active phone number.
Read your phone bill: Check your phone bill for services you haven’t ordered. Some charges may appear only once, but others might be monthly ‘subscriptions.’
Check accounts frequently: You should check any account that contains your personal information on a consistent basis. That way you can spot any potential fraud before it causes serious damage.
Know your rights: Real commercial text messages must provide a free, easy way for you to opt out of future communication. Learn more here.
Know how to combat spam texts: Forward the texts to 7726 (SPAM on most keypads), but don’t click any links. This will alert your cell phone carrier to block future texts from those numbers.
Watch out for look-alike URLs: Just because a URL has the name of a real company in it, doesn’t mean it’s legitimate. Anyone can register a sub-domain (realcompany.website.com) or similar URL (realcompany1234.com).
Ask your phone carrier about blocking third-party charges: Mobile phone carriers permit outside businesses to place charges on your phone bill, but many carriers also allow you to block these charges for free.