As an Apple user, you’ve likely heard that Apple devices are resistant to hacking and malware. This isn’t true. Apple regularly releases security updates, which means that vulnerabilities are present, making your device susceptible to hacking schemes.
Since you rely on your device for numerous tasks, it’s important to learn how to spot Apple ID phishing tactics hackers send through email. It’s also crucial that you listen to solid advice from experts.
To help you out, we looked into the latest processes that you need to do to keep your Apple devices safe. Hacking evolves along with technology, so you need to stay updated.
We scoured news and official sources from Apple, government authorities, tech and cyber security experts, and Apple enthusiasts and gathered the best tips.
Apart from this, we shared the top tip that we’ve learned could protect your Apple ID 90% of the time. Don’t miss out and remain vulnerable.
How to know if you’re dealing with an Apple ID phishing scam
Hackers commonly use phishing attacks to gather personal information from you. The details may include passwords, social security numbers, bank details, and other sensitive data they can use for more crimes, such as identity theft.
When they target Apple users, these cybercriminals usually try to make phishing emails look as authentic as possible. You’ll usually receive content containing links to fake websites, where they’ll ask you to fill out the information.
Hackers can use multiple tactics to get you to interact, such as the “Apple ID is locked” scam, wherein they’ll ask you to “confirm” your login credentials to get your account back. However, criminals can now control your Apple ID if you give your information.
The only difference between phishing scams and Apple ID phishing scams is that they will target your Apple ID to access all your Apple profiles—the App Store, iCloud, Apple Music, iMessage, and of course, Apple Pay.
But, how do you spot an Apple ID phishing email scam, and how do you know if an email is genuinely from Apple? We’ve gathered the most telling signs of fraudulent emails:
You received a message from a suspicious email address
If you don’t dive into the details, you can quickly assume that you’ve received an authentic Apple message.
Scammers are getting craftier and can easily use sender banners on top of emails to make them look genuine.
That said, checking the sender’s email address first before clicking on links is important. If you find an email like “[email protected]” or “applesupport.ru,” you’re probably facing a scammer.
So, what email does Apple use to contact you? All emails related to your Apple ID account will always and ONLY be from [email protected].
You found grammatical errors
Given Apple’s branding, it will be nearly impossible to see typos, spelling errors, or grammatical mistakes.
The company is known for its superb copywriting strategies, so anything subpar or out of its usual writing style will likely be a bogus Apple ID email.
The email is asking for personal information
Apple will never ask its users to disclose their Apple ID passwords, bank details, social media password, credit card numbers, and CVV codes.
Most of the company’s messages contain updates, news, and security assistance, so if you receive one requiring you to divulge personal information, you’re at risk of being scammed.
Your message contains no touch of personalization
Apple has access to your account, meaning they know your name, address, contact number, and other basic details—enough to send out personalized messages.
Scammers usually use generic greetings like “Dear Customer,” but Apple takes user experience to the next level, so it will always address you by your Apple ID name.
Although Apple phishing emails can be convincing, remember that Apple (or at least their system) knows you by name.
You receive a purchase receipt with no billing address
According to its website, customers will always have access to genuine purchase receipts, which come from “purchases in the App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, or Apple Music.”
Purchase receipts ALWAYS include your current billing address. If you receive one without a billing address, scammers are trying to target you.
The email is threatening you to comply
If you receive an email containing threats and other fear tactics, it’s most likely a scam.
Identity thieves use emotions to urge you to follow their requests immediately, demanding you to take immediate action that may cause you to panic and act how they want to.
Whether transferring money or filling out a form, the phishing email can be quite convincing.
You’ve received suspicious and unnecessary attachments
Apple never sends messages with attachments, but you should be wary if the attachments contain the following extension names:
Often, these extensions contain malware that can bypass Apple’s security measures and affect your device.
What do you do if you get an Apple phishing email?
If you receive an Apple phishing email, it’s best not to open it. Some scammers can get creative enough to be able to steal information as soon as you open the email—compromising security measures in place. If you can, make sure to delete the email immediately.
It’s also best not to download any attachments to the email, as they may contain malware designed to wreak havoc on your Apple device.
Links are also a no-no, as these can lead you to seemingly legitimate websites that urge you to fill out details.
More importantly, never reply to the sender. This gives them the confidence and opportunity to send even more phishing scams.
How to report phishing scams to Apple
Upon research, we’ve uncovered that Apple has dedicated security teams for different phishing scams and other fraudulent online activities bearing its brand. Here’s where to send your reports:
- For email scams: [email protected]
- For suspicious text messages: Take a screenshot and send it to [email protected]
- For spam on iCloud, mac.com, or even me.com: [email protected]
- For Messages: tap Report Junk, usually seen under the message
- For scam phone calls: Report directly to the Federal Trade Commission for U.S. users at reportfraud.ftc.gov
If you’re wondering, “Why did I get a notification that my Apple ID is being used?” It’s likely that someone else tried logging onto your account—and you’ll need to change your password right away.
How to protect yourself from Apple ID phishing scams
Experts recommend enabling two-factor authentication on your accounts.
Adam Wood, Co-Founder of the online resource website RevenueGeeks, advised, “In my opinion, implement two-factor authentication on all of your online accounts, including your Apple ID, for maximum security.”
“Utilize preventative anti-malware security, which can filter and block links that lead to harmful websites. Pay alert to any phone calls that seem odd. If they ask for personal information, you should think carefully before giving it to them,” he added.
Although Apple ID scams can be dangerous, it’s important to remember that they’ll basically be useless if you don’t interact with them.
IMPORTANT: Apple users can avoid Apple ID phishing scams by refusing to share sensitive personal information.
Apple will never ask for your personal information, including credit card numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, and other sensitive information. If you receive an email, message, or phone call pretending to be from Apple, ignore it.
Additionally, you can also go through the following reminders:
- When installing updates, only follow instructions that come from Apple.com. If you receive a notification asking you to unlock or verify your Apple ID account, check the email address if it’s correct. For good measure, visit https://appleid.apple.com/ directly.
- It’s best to ignore links or attachments on suspicious emails, as these likely contain malware or lead to fake websites designed to fish information from you. Make sure to forward these emails to [email protected], then mark them as spam.
Why do scammers want to steal your Apple ID?
Individuals and businesses alike lost more than $3.5 billion in online scams in 2019. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), phishing is the most common method of scammers. So, how does this affect your Apple devices?
Apple ID encompasses Apple devices. Once a scammer gets a hold of your Apple ID login credentials, they have access to every device, application, and personal information.
You can lose your addresses, banking details, contact information, and other data that criminals can use for identity theft. They’ll also have access to documents and photos, which they can then use for ransom and extortion.
What happens if you open a phishing email on your Apple device?
Thankfully, merely opening a suspicious email is usually harmless. Apple can identify spam messages, and you’ll only be susceptible to further risks if you download attachments, click on links, or give away your personal information.
Unfortunately, sometimes we commit mistakes accidentally and unconsciously. Here are some steps you can take to minimize the risks:
- If you accidentally downloaded an attachment, don’t open it and delete the file from your device.
- If you click on a link and it redirects you to a suspicious website, don’t interact with it—exit immediately.
- It’s best to delete all browsing history to get rid of cookies or caches.
- You must change your Apple ID password. For good measure, you may also change the passwords of all accounts you’ve linked to your Apple ID.
- Consistently monitor your phone for any changes, including bugs and sudden battery drains. If your device has already been compromised, it’s best to proceed to a factory reset.
- Given that Apple monitors security measure vulnerabilities, make sure to update to the latest iOS versions. Any security bugs will be fixed, keeping your device secure.
Having an Apple device doesn’t necessarily spare you from the perils of the online world. Scammers take the time to figure out their victims, which is why they likely have methods specifically designed to compromise and bypass Apple security measures.
That said, it’s important to remain vigilant at all times. Once you receive a phishing email scam, report it immediately and fortify your security measures.