11 Ways You Can Fall Victim to The New iPhone 15 Scam
Apple will release the new iPhone 15 in stores on September 22, but scammers have devised already cunning schemes to separate unsuspecting victims from their hard-earned money. The iPhone 15 scam has 11 variations, including testers, preorders, upgrades, iCloud lock, sweepstakes, and great deals. Let’s start with the most prevalent of all Apple scams.
1. The iPhone 15 Tester
Picture this scenario: An unexpected pop-up appears while casually browsing the internet on your device. It claims that Apple needs testers for their new iPhone or, in some cases, declares that you’ve won one. How does this scam operate? It’s strikingly similar to scams involving previous iPhone models.
The pop-up boldly states, “Your computer has been chosen to participate in testing the new iPhone 15.” If you express interest, you’re prompted to click ‘OK,’ leading you to a fraudulent website, often with a name like officialsurveyrewards15.com.
Upon arriving at this site, you’re informed that Apple is seeking 20 additional users, specifically for your operating system, to join an exclusive testing group. This group’s task is to evaluate the new iPhone and explore its features, including the “animoji,” which transforms your face into a 3D emoji.
Next, you’re presented with a handful of straightforward ‘Yes-No’ questions, typically around four in number. Questions like, “Do you own any Apple products?” or “Are you interested in receiving SMS messages?” Once you’ve answered these, you receive a notification, “Congratulations, you’ve qualified for the private test group. We’ll be in touch with details. Click below to claim your bonus iPhone 8 as a token of appreciation (pay $1 for shipping).”
As you might anticipate, you must provide your credit card details to pay the supposed $1 shipping fee. Alongside this transaction, you’re also prompted to provide personal information, which these scammers often sell to third parties or exploit for identity theft.
First and foremost, close the pop-up if you encounter it. Apple conducts rigorous testing of new phones internally long before their official release. They never distribute free iPhones to individuals through such online offers. There are established protocols for product launches, and seeking testers on the internet isn’t one of them.
Don’t forget to report any scammer to the Federal Trade Commission.
Here are the other 10 types of iPhone 15 scams:
2. The Phantom iPhone Preorder Scam
With the impending release of a new iPhone 15 model, scammers often set up fake websites or social media pages enticing users to preorder the latest gadget at unbeatable prices. These sites mimic Apple’s official website, making distinguishing the fake from the real difficult.
Users who fall victim to this scam are left empty-handed, their money disappearing into the abyss.
By the way, if you are about to order the new iPhone 15, be careful. You can watch the video below to see how not to do it:
Let’s continue with the scams, though.
3. The iCloud Lock Extortion
This scam will occur once you get your new iPhone 15. Some crafty scammers exploit the fear of losing valuable data stored on iPhones. They send fraudulent mass emails – up to 1,000 recipients at once – hoping to find users of the new model.
In these emails, they claim that the victim’s iCloud account is locked and that immediate action is required.
Unsuspecting users are then directed to a fake Apple login page where they unwittingly provide their credentials. The scammers gain access to the victim’s account and may even lock them out, demanding a ransom to regain access.
4. The iCloud Activation Lock Scam
Once getting a new iPhone 15, users tend to try to sell the old models. It means the market is full of iPhone-selling offers days and weeks after the release. (Check out the Facebook marketplace and OfferUp scams for this type of fraud.)
That said, another variant of the iCloud-related scams involves fraudsters selling used iPhones with an iCloud activation lock. Unsuspecting buyers are left with a locked device they cannot activate, and the scammer is long gone with the money.
5. The Upgrade To iPhone 15 Fraud
Scammers impersonate mobile carriers or Apple support, claiming the victim is eligible for a free or discounted iPhone upgrade. Victims are asked to provide personal and financial information, which is then used for identity theft or unauthorized charges.
6. The Fake Warranty Call
In this scam, the victim receives a call from someone claiming to be an Apple representative. They inform the victim that their iPhone 15 warranty is about to expire and offer to extend it for a fee. Victims who fall for this trick pay for a non-existent warranty extension.
7. iPhone 15 Sweepstakes Winner: Walmart and Other Brands
There is a new email going around telling recipients they can submit their names for a chance to win Walmart’s sweepstakes. Alternatively, it may say that the recipients won already. Here is a screenshot of a couple of emails just like that.
Do not click on the links. You didn’t win, nor do you ever will. Let’s move on.
8. The Phishing Text Messages
Scammers send text messages posing as Apple support or a shipping company, claiming that a new iPhone package is on its way.
The message includes a link to a fake website designed to steal personal and financial information when victims attempt to track their “package.”
Here are more phishing scams of all kinds.
9. The Counterfeit App Store Apps
Scammers create counterfeit iPhone apps that appear legitimate but contain malware or are designed to steal personal information. Some of these apps are promoted to be available only on the new iPhone 15 model, which makes the victims trust that the software is high-end and legitimate.
Users who download these apps unknowingly expose their data to malicious actors.
10. The Lost or Stolen iPhone Ransom
In a sinister twist, some scammers obtain a lost or stolen iPhone 15 and contact the owner, demanding a ransom for its return. They threaten to wipe or sell the device if the victim doesn’t pay up.
11. The Low-Price Deal
The new iPhone 15 is not cheap. However, there will be tons of platforms offering the phone for a great price. It happens every time a new release happens. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Scammers often create listings on online marketplaces or classified ads offering brand-new iPhones at jaw-droopingly low prices. Victims who fall for these enticing deals end up receiving counterfeit or stolen devices if anything at all.
iPhone 15 Scam: How To Avoid
If you genuinely desire an iPhone 15, your safest action is to visit Apple’s official website. To protect yourself from falling victim to these iPhone scams, follow these essential tips:
- Verify Official Sources: When preordering or purchasing a new iPhone, visit Apple’s official website or authorized retailers. Double-check URLs to ensure they are legitimate.
- Beware of Unsolicited Communication: Be cautious of unsolicited emails, calls, or messages claiming to be from Apple. Always verify the sender’s authenticity.
- Research Sellers: If buying from third-party sellers, research their reputation and read reviews. Avoid deals that seem too good to be true.
- Use Strong Authentication: Enable two-factor authentication for your Apple ID and iCloud account to add an extra layer of security.
- Educate Yourself: Stay informed about common scams and their variations. Awareness is your best defense against fraud.
As the iPhone continues to capture the world’s imagination, scammers will continue exploiting its allure. However, with vigilance and knowledge, you can protect yourself from falling prey to these notorious iPhone scams.
Remember, in the digital realm, knowledge is power, and staying informed is your best weapon against fraudsters lurking in the shadows.
How To Protect Yourself More
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Meanwhile, feel free to educate yourself with some other Apple fraud-related articles. They are listed under this paragraph, so that you know more about online security. Last but not least, if you have any bad experiences in any other aspect (from gadgets to even car-related reports), make sure to use the comments section below to expose other iPhone scammers.
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