Warning from the NC Dept of Justice: Beware the Apple iTunes Scam Skip to main content

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Warning from the NC Dept of Justice: Beware the Apple iTunes Scam


Apple iTunes

Beware new iTunes scams!

Image source: Flickr User fdecomite

There are as many scams floating around as the day is long from fraudsters seeking to steal your personal information, identity and, ultimately, your money. Today we'll show you how a new iTunes scam is taking advantage, how it works and how to protect yourself from would-be scammers. This scam starts by inspiring fear. This is clever because fear can be a powerful motivator.

How the scam starts

You may get either a text or an email saying that there are unauthorized charges on your iTunes account. They then provide a link for you to file a dispute against these charges. The link seems to be an Apple link when you look at, but if you hover over it and look in the bottom left of your computer screen you will actually see it takes you somewhere else. If you click on it from a text, you won't be able to tell where it's taking you until you click on it.

How the scam works

There are a couple of different versions of the scam. One will take you to a fake page that looks like the real iTunes login page. When you login, the scammers steal your credentials. They can then steal your account information, lock you out of the account and make a bunch of bogus purchases from your account including gift cards which they can easily convert to cash. The other version is less sophisticated and takes you to a page that asks you to provide your name, social security number and other information that allows the perpetrators to commit identity theft.

New iCloud scams

If you're using iCloud, Apple's digital back up service, for your photos and other files, you may be worried about account hacks. There have been a number of high profile stories lately about celebrities having their iCloud accounts hacked and revealing photos posted online. This may have you scared no matter what type of files or photos you're hosting.

This fear has prompted new scams where texts or emails are sent saying they are from Apple Security or Support asking user to update their Apple ID because of the recent account hacks. You click a link to update your information and are first asked to enter your existing user name and ID. You think you're changing your info, but instead you're just handing it over to criminals.

An email or text may invite you to change your credentials or threaten you by saying something like: “Apple Support detected an unauthorized attempt to sign in to your iCloud account. Reply back with your Apple ID and password to avoid having your account locked out.” Currently both Apple and the FBI are investigating these phishing and SMSmishing (phishing via text message) scams.

Protect yourself from Apple email or text scams

It's unfortunate, but as long as there are people walking the Earth, there will be others trying to scam them. It's up to you to protect yourself. Apple issued a statement to try and help customers know how to spot shady text and email messages. They said they will never ask you to provide the following information via email:

  • Social security number
  • Mother's maiden name
  • Full credit card number
  • Credit card security code

They also recommend that if you're worried about unauthorized activity on your account, never to click any link provided but instead to go directly to the official iTunes login page (not from a link) and login and check your information or change your password there. If you live in North Carolina, you can contact the NC Department of Justice for help if you were taken advantage of by an Apple scam or any other internet fraud.

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