The Apple Support Scam: What It Is and How to Protect Yourself From It

That's not really Apple trying to get your password and credit card info.

The Apple Support scam is a variation of other tech support phone scams that have been around for years. It makes use of caller ID spoofing to fool you into thinking that you're actually in contact with Apple Support. If you have been a victim of this scam, it's important to contact Apple through official channels, and take other proactive measures if you provided information like passwords or credit card details to the scammer.

What Is the Apple Support Scam?

The Apple Support scam is the latest evolution of an old technique where the scammers pose as legitimate tech support personnel. In this case, the scammer poses as Apple Support by calling you with a spoofed number that looks like it came from Apple. If you don't answer, they may then request you call them back using a 1-866 number.

A screenshot of the Apple Support scam.

If you use an iPhone, the call will look legitimate. The Apple logo will appear, just as if the call was from Apple Support, and the call info will also show Apple's real number as a callback number, the real Apple website, and the real address for Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA.

Even though the call may look real, it's important to remember that Apple Support does not contact customers via the phone, and they don't request call-backs using dubious 1-866 numbers. Apple uses a specific set of customer service numbers, all of which are available through their official list of Apple phone numbers. If a caller claims to be from Apple Support and gives you a different number, it's a scam.

Apple does use a 1-866 number for their Enterprise clients in the United States, but they still won't call you and ask for a call back. General and educational customers in both the United States and Canada use 1-800 numbers.

How Does the Apple Support Scam Work?

Apple scam calls work by tricking customers into thinking that they are dealing with legitimate Apple Support. They may tell you that you have been the victim of a data breach, or use another scare tactic.

If you fall for the trick, the scammer will typically attempt to obtain compromising information from you like passwords and credit card details. This may result in the scammer gaining access to your iCloud, making fraudulent purchases with your credit cards, or even stealing your identity.

How Do the Apple Support Scammers Find Victims?

Like most scam and spam calls, the Apple Support scammers likely find their victims through a number of sources that aggregate large lists of phone numbers. Since this scam doesn't involve the scammer having any personal information about the victim, and people who don't even own Apple devices can be targeted, it's likely that the scammers simply obtain numbers from a variety of sources and cast a wide net.

How Do I Avoid Getting Involved in This Scam?

Since the scammers likely obtained your phone number through means that were totally beyond your control, there is very little you can do to avoid being targeted by this scam. You can minimize your exposure to scam and spam calls by never giving out your phone number, but it can still leak out through data breaches and companies with unscrupulous data practices.

What you can do is be aware that the scam exists, and avoid falling for it. If you ever receive a call that looks like it came from Apple Support, hang up immediately and then contact Apple Support through their official contact page. Tell Apple Support about the call, and verify that it was a scam.

If you receive a call that looks like it came from Apple Support, never call back the number that they provide for you. In fact, that's a good practice across the board. Whether it's a utility company, credit card company, or your bank, if someone calls and warns you about a data breach or any other similar issue, hang up and call the official contact number.

I'm Already a Victim. What Should I Do?

If you're afraid that you've been a victim of the Apple Support scam, you need to take a few actions immediately. First, call Apple Support to verify that you actually were dealing with a scammer. It's very unlikely that Apple Support would ever call you out of the blue, but contact them just to make sure.

If you provided the scammer with your Apple ID and password, immediately change them, and let Apple Support know that you may have been compromised. If you gave out credit card information, call your credit card company and let them know what happened. They can cancel your card and issue new ones.

If you gave out any other information, like your social security number, you may want to look into identity theft protection. You will also want to monitor your credit report for suspicious activity.

For more information, check out our guide to protecting yourself after getting scammed online.

How Do I Avoid Being Targeted For the Apple Support Scam?

There isn't a lot you can do to avoid being targeted for the Apple Support scam. While this scam is very tricky, due to the way that it really looks like Apple Support is calling you, their method of finding victims doesn't appear to be very sophisticated. All you can really do is remain vigilant, and never answer or return a call that appears to come from Apple Support.