Tag Archives: scam

Has Your Apple ID Account Been “Frozen?”

Phishing for Apple ID AccountsThere’s another new scam going around that appears to be from places such as “katzweb.net” and other sites telling you that your AppleID account has been “frozen,” and that you should “verify your account.” This is complete nonsense and a horrible “phishing” attempt. Phishing is when a person or company that is not the real person or company attempts to get private and sensitive information from you, such as credit card numbers or social security numbers. This is NOT real and you should NEVER give your personal data away in these instances. Unless you are directly talking to an Apple employee (via the Apple.com website or 1-800-APL-CARE support line), you will have serious issues when these sites get your personal data.

If you are contacted by anyone or any company requesting data that has anything to do with an AppleID, you should forward that suspicious (although very real looking) email to Apple support located at reportphishing@apple.com. They will be able to determine if this was a real or fake request and they will contact you directly.

Be safe out there!

800-656-8547 is another pop-up scam–don’t fall for it!

800-656-8547 Scam

800-656-8547 is most likely a phishing scam designed to get access into your Mac–don’t fall for it!

There is another scam going around as pop-ups that appear in your browser while surfing the web with Safari, Firefox or Chrome. What happens is a pop-up appears and explains that you have a security breach on your Macintosh (or Windows computer). Then, it directs you to call 800-656-8547, for instructions on how to take care of this “breach.” The instructions are to let a “technician” into your computer virtually, which is a bad idea in general, and then have to pay them upwards of $300 to “clean your Macintosh.” This is just another variation of the typical pop-up scareware banners that trick you into thinking something is wrong with your computer–which there is not. Whatever you do, don’t call that number! 

If you happen to be reading this post after you have called the number for this pop-up scam, here’s a few things to do immediately on your Macintosh.

  • First, if you gave them a credit card number, you will probably want to call the bank and have them deny the charge and cancel that card. Once they have that number, they may use it further, or, sell it off on the black market.
  • If they actually took control of your Mac, they may have done nothing, or, they may have inserted any variety of malware, keylogging software, etc. It’s hard to say for sure, but, different scams of this variety do different things. At minimum, you would want to change your administrator password (System Preferences –> Users and Groups –> Change Password) for all accounts on the Mac. Depending on your comfort level, you would also want to consider rolling back to an earlier date in time with Time Machine backup, or, consider a scorched Earth path to completely wipe the computer clean and start over. If you were to do this drastic step, I would wipe the computer clean, and then install an operating system first, and then go back and restore just your user folder from backup. Select only important users in the Setup Assistant dialog box—not the Applications, Other files and folders, or Computer & Network Settings. Don’t transfer the Guest account, if you had this enabled.
  • Don’t install 3rd party software from your backups–try to go back to the original media for this step.
  • We advise you change any internet passwords that you may have typed in after this breach, such as banking or online retail store accounts–this is a good step to do anyway, every few months.
  • It’s not a bad idea to install some form of anti-virus software at this point, such as Sophos for the Mac, which is more of a piece-of-mind-just-in-case step. It will come up with some errors during scanning, which usually means that it cannot scan system files that are in use. If it finds anything strange, it will quarantine these files.

Hopefully after all of these steps, your Mac will be somewhat back to normal. Remember, this scam is a popular one and many more malicious folks are putting this scam into action. 800-656-8547 is just one of many following the same routine and we ask that you don’t ever call anyone for Macintosh help except for AppleCare and local computer companies (such as Capital Mac Service) in your area that specialize in the Macintosh. If you get bitten by this, or any other scam, don’t panic and don’t ever give out personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers and birthdates. Above all else, don’t let remote people take over your computer–this is just asking for trouble!

Don’t Fall Victim to Macintosh Help and Support Scams!

Don't fall victim to Macintosh Support Scams!

Don’t fall victim to Macintosh support scams including fake Mac tech support companies and anti-virus software. They will capture your personal data and credit card numbers!

When you see pop-ups and warnings that your Macintosh may be infected by a virus or spyware while surfing the web, don’t fall for it! Most of these scary popup warnings are nothing more than a scam to get your credit card numbers, passwords, or social security numbers! These fake companies (usually not based in the United States) generate these very official-looking and scary warnings that appear on your screen warning you that you have severe system problems and viruses on your Macintosh. The good news is almost 99.9% of the time, you and your Mac are perfectly safe.

If you decide to take these scam companies up on their offers of free diagnostic software, free tech support and more, you will most likely be handing over crucial and personal data that will come back to haunt you! The general way these companies scam you is by tricking you into installing software onto your Macintosh that allows them full access into your computer remotely, which in turn they can keep this access as long as they wish. They will then often generate fake messages with this software, such as leading you to believe you have a virus or spyware that can only be removed by them–for a huge fee. We have had customers fork over hundreds of dollars to these companies, for basically no reason. Once they take off these fake viruses, their software just generates more of them down the road, forcing you to give them more money.

Another way fake companies get your credit card numbers and other personal data is to masquerade as a real Apple Macintosh support business. These offshore companies often pay for higher Google results and trick you into thinking they are actually Apple Computer, by using domain names that appear to be related to Apple (they aren’t). Once you call these fake Mac support companies, they ask for access remotely to your Mac, or, credit card numbers and other personal data.

Lastly, another big scam is the “Clean My Mac” software that is going around the Internet via website ads and popup windows. This software usually is malicious and does nothing on your Mac except generate ways to steal your data and credit card numbers. The jury is out on the infamous “MacKeeper” software that you see on a daily basis–We feel that whether this is malicious software or not, our gut feeling is to stay away from it. Consult with a reputable firm to talk about cleaning and optimizing your Macintosh with genuine software such as Cocktail for the Mac, which we’ve talked about before. The Macintosh for the most part can take care of itself–it usually doesn’t need help from these online optimization and cleaning software titles–worry about backing up your data first and foremost instead of chasing these possibly damaging software titles.

Please contact Capital Mac Service before you attempt to install any third-party software to clean or disinfect your Mac, no matter how scary these warnings appear to be. Don’t call anyone on the web or visit websites unless you are 100% sure they are either Apple Computer, or, a reputable local Macintosh help and support firm. We can work backwards with you to see where these warnings came from and hopefully shut the doors to these malicious companies.

Another Day, Another Phishing Scam.

Phishing Scam

Don’t fall for these realistic-looking phishing scams!

I just got this screenshot from a Capital Mac Service customer that looks pretty scary–fortunately, this is yet another version of a typical scam going around the Internet. Basically, just clicking on a weblink brought this webpage up, which basically traps you on the page–you cannot get off of it without force quitting your browser. These types of scams try to trick you into thinking you have a virus or spyware on your Mac (or PC and Android as I found out by digging deeper). When you click through, they ask for a credit card number to remove this fake spyware and virus from your computer. If you visit the page where this scam comes from (see it here), you can see all the various directories with various scary webpages warning you about this virus you may have. They have different scareware pages for different operating systems! DO NOT fall for these scams when surfing the web. Take a screenshot and contact us if you like so we can educate further on the dangers of these fake and fraudulent sites trying to steal your credit card and other personal information.

Do NOT fall for this App Sec-Team SCAM E-Mail!

I received an email tonight from a company called “App Sec-Team,” which I had no idea what it was until I looked a bit deeper. The only reason I even saw this email message is because it skipped the SPAM rules on both Mac OS X Mail and Gmail’s SPAM filter. This is an interesting scam in that it appears to be from Apple, which it’s not–and it brings you to a form that looks exactly like an official Apple iCloud form, right down to the graphics and icons used. This is a FAKE site and you must NOT enter any personal information! I’ll break it down one piece at a time below:

Here’s what the original email looks like, including the scary header (“Account Verification”) that would trick a good portion of people into opening the email (since it skipped the SPAM rules!):

A fake Apple dialog box

A somewhat-official email supposedly coming from Apple, but, it’s coming from a phishing company!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The actual email says this in the body:

2-Step Verification

As part of our security policy, we’re moving to a new sign in process for our Apple accounts, called 2-Step Verification. 2-Step Verification adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to enter a verification code (similar to a PIN) after you enter your usual information. You will receive the verification code through your email address.

Why are we doing this?

2-Step Verification helps protect your account from unauthorized access due to a compromised password. Even if your password is cracked, guessed, or otherwise stolen, an attacker can’t sign in without a verification code, which only you can obtain via your own email address.

This is 100% fake and it is certainly not from Apple. Here’s a screenshot of who it’s actually from which is “security@app.com”:

Security@app.com Fake Email

This is a completely fake entity, appearing to look like Apple

 

 

 

Going a bit further, if you happen to click on the “Verify your information, Get activation code from Here” link that they try to trick you into clicking, you end up here–and this is pretty convincing to someone who isn’t used to things like this–a completely fake site that is masquerading as a real Apple website–which even I was thrown for after seeing it for a quick first time due to the official graphics and wording:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, let’s check the final nail in this coffin–the website that this fake iTunes Connect screen is hosted at–which in real life would have to be something with ‘apple.com’ in it–however–this site resides on a web server called ‘www.greenbvc.com,’ which is clearly not Apple in any way. If you had entered in this information as the form asked for, you would now have a stolen credit card and most of your personal data in a database somewhere probably offshore. But, it gets even stranger if you dig deeper into the URL that this fake page is stored: “http://www.greenbvc.com/” which brings you to this site which actually seems legitimate:

Fake Apple Screenshot Scam

Why does a fake Apple site point back to this site?

My gut feeling is this guy’s site was hacked and this fake Apple verification page was placed there without his knowledge. The bigger message here is the layers that these scam companies will go through to get your personal data. Stay vigilant, people. If you have any question about this type of scamming, or phishing as it’s referred to, please contact Capital Mac Service before you fill out any forms or click on literally anything on the web.