OWENTON, Ky. — Do you own an iPhone?
For years, many people assumed scammers targeted Microsoft Windows users, not Apple customers, because Apple products were too tough to hack.
That's true, but crooks have come up with new ways of targeting iPhone owners that don't involve actually hacking the phone.
Scammer pretends to be Apple help center
An Owenton, Kentucky, woman just lost over $1,000 to a scammer pretending to be Apple customer service.
Ruby, who asked that we not use her last name, was having a problem with Siri on her iPhone.
She Googled "Apple customer service" and called the first number that popped up to find out what was going on.
A helpful agent told Ruby he could fix her iPhone issue, but he needed her to buy an Apple gift card online to initiate the process.
"He said, 'I want you to get a $500 Apple card (the maximum amount you can load onto these cards), and when you get that, we'll connect Siri, and the $500 will go right back into your bank,'" she said.
Ruby did as he explained, buying the gift card with her debit card, and then read the numbers to the technician.
But he said the card did not work. He needed her to purchase another $500 Apple card to try again.
"So, like a fool, I did it one more time," she said.
She paid another $500. Once again, the tech said the card did not work. She started getting suspicious.
Only when the money did not go back into her bank account did she realize she had been taken for a ride, and the Apple support number she called wasn't really Apple at all.
It was a tech-support scam.
Customer support scammers now target all devices
For years, the tech-support scam was called the "Microsoft scam," because it targeted people with Microsoft or Windows-based computers.
But lately those scammers have moved on to Apple devices, and if you have an iPhone or MacBook, you could become a victim.
We are contacting Apple and her bank to see if there is any way to recover some of the money she lost to this scam.
"It's everything," she says. "I get $500 a month on Social Security."
Bottom line: Be careful looking up Apple customer service, as well as Microsoft, Google or Facebook support phone numbers.
In many cases, you will reach a third party company at best, or a scammer at worst.
Apple will never ask you to purchase an Apple gift card to pay for help.
So, don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money" is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. ("Scripps").
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