Apple Store Spoofers Spoil the Barrel

Apple Store Spoofers Spoil the Barrel

October 3rd, 2019 - Telecom, Identity and Protection

By Lavinia Kennedy, Director of Product Management at TNS

Spoof calls occur when someone, usually with the intent of phishing, pretends to be a known entity to the receiver. Apple Inc. is particularly affected by spoofers. With over 250 retail locations in the United States, most, if not all, of Apple’s store numbers have been impersonated over the phone by spoofers at some point. When you call their stores, a bot may even warn you of the spoof calls.

This style of scam is particularly convincing as the caller ID on the receiver’s phone will appear known, but the person on the other end is not who they were expecting. Business numbers are an easy target for spoofers because their customer support numbers are listed on the internet. The receiver can do a quick search of the number, and it will show up as a known company – making the call seem trustworthy.

While Apple is aware of the problem, the calls may sound legitimate to mobile users. The caller will claim to be Apple Support saying the receiver’s iCloud has been breached. The receiver is then given a number to call, one that is not related to Apple. The spoofers will not hesitate to harass the receiver. The nature of the call is a very basic phishing attempt – except it is coming from a reliable number making it more believable to the receiver than a typical phishing attempt.

If you receive a similar message and are given a number to call – don’t call that number. Call the customer support number on the company’s website instead because while spoofers can send out calls appearing as a legitimate entity, they cannot answer the phone as that entity. Apple is also unlikely to call you unexpectedly, so be wary of unwarranted calls.

To avoid being a victim, always follow the FCC advisory guidance on ignoring scams:

  • Don’t answer or return any calls from numbers you don’t recognize.
  • Before calling unfamiliar numbers, check to see if the area code is international.
  • If you do not make international calls, ask your phone company to block outgoing international calls on your line.
  • Always be cautious, even if a number appears authentic.

In addition to following FCC guidance, consumers can protect themselves by leveraging telecom provider robocall detection solutions powered by TNS Call Guardian. According to a Mind Commerce study, Call Guardian correctly identified spoofed numbers 98% of the time compared to 64% for other solutions.

TNS analyzes robocall data from more than one billion daily call events across hundreds of telecom providers. Because of this volume of data, TNS extracts insights on emerging robocaller trends and tactics. While it is difficult to predict what the next major robocall scam will be, we do know this: scammers continue to rapidly evolve their tactics and targets to evade detection efforts. This means consumers must remain vigilant when it comes to suspicious incoming calls, and carriers must continue to commit to deploying innovative solutions to protect their subscribers.

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