Apple Device Winner: Phone Scam Overview
Apple has earned a very large and loyal base of followers. Over 500 million people have Apple accounts and there are over one billion active Apple devices around the world. Unfortunately, scam artists are trying to take advantage of Apple customers by promising free products on the company's behalf.
The scammers claim to be with a company called Luck Apple Winner (or another alluring company name). They send text, Facebook or Kik messages to their victims, which state that they have been selected for free Apple products. If the users claim their prize, they get billed a monthly fee.
How Does the Lucky Apple Winner Phone Scam Work?
The scam is very simple, but unfortunately many people still fall victim to it. The scammer sends a text like this:
“Congratulations! You’ve been selected to win a Free Apple Product! Go to http://apple.XXXXXX.cc and enter this code.”
If you click the link, you are asked to choose your free Apple product. Your options may include a MacBook Air, iPhone 7, or an iPad Air.
Once you make your selection, you may be asked to complete a multiple choice question to claim your prize. You’ll need to provide your phone number and agree to the terms and conditions before it can be shipped. This is where they get you.
If you read the terms carefully, you’ll see that they are going to be charged a slew of fees.
Only a small percentage of people participate in the offer. However, spammers like this send millions of messages every day, so they still ensnare many victims.
How Can You Protect Yourself From This Scam?
This scam is easy to spot if you know what to look for. Here are some red flags:
Fake Apple URL.
The hyperlink in the message is cleverly designed to look like it is coming from Apple. Look closely at the URL before clicking. You'll notice it isn't associated with the official apple.com domain.
They may also send texts that send you to fake Facebook pages these pages are designed to get likes to make scammers seem legitimate. In our phone book we have feedback regarding some of the numbers used to promote these pages, like the following:
(480) 939-6704: Facebook link scam via text
The Facebook pages will often have lots of likes and posts, but no real information on them.
No connection to Apple promotions.
The people behind this scam usually claim that they are giving the gifts away as part of a promotion Apple is running. If you do your research, you will probably find that Apple isn't running such a promotion. It will be obvious that the scammers are pretending to be associated with Apple to earn your trust.
Always read the fine print!
People that run automatic billing scams prey on people that don’t read the fine print. Don’t make this mistake. You should always read the terms and conditions before signing any contract over the internet.
How Can You Report This Scam?
The FTC is cracking down on scams like these and you can help them. You can file a complaint via their online complaint assistant. You can also report scam pages to Facebook if you believe that one has tried to reach out to you.
If you get a text message saying that you’ve won an Apple Device, be sure to check it in our reverse phone lookup app for iPhone. You can also look up numbers in our online phone book if you don’t have an iPhone.