If you’re an iPhone user, watch out for the latest identity theft scam. Some iPhone users are getting email messages that pretend to be from Apple, Inc. and claim that their Apple user ID password is about to expire. A link in the email sends them to a supposedly Apple-owned web site that asks for their username and password, says their account has been locked, and then asks for address and credit card numbers.
This kind of online fraud is called “phishing” for a reason, and if you take the bait, not only can the hackers go on a spending spree at your expense, they can also go wild downloading apps, games, music, and movies from your iTunes account to use with the new home entertainment systems they’re going to buy with your credit cards.
If you’re an Android user, don’t get smug. There are plenty of scams targeting you, too. The best way to spot a phishing scam is to look for things that don’t make sense. Why would Apple or any vendor ask for a credit card number or address when changing your password? Look at the links. Does the website address make sense? Is it “Apple.com” (the real deal) or does it end in something weird like “.br” (for Brazil) or “.ng” (for Nigeria, which has a whole category of phishing scams named after it).
The important thing is to stop and think whenever you get an unexpected email. Hackers often design scams to look urgent, counting on your anxiety to keep you from noticing things that don’t make sense. Snow White found out the hard way that not all apples are good for you, so stay awake and smart on the web!