Fraudsters posing as Apple technicians are locking down iPhones and asking users to hand over £50 or more to unlock their phones.
The scam involves a pop-up telling users that they have been a victim of cyber fraud and must pay £50 to deal with the matter. A pop-up appears with a crash, error, operating system failure message prompting the user to phone a free-phone number for technical assistance from Apple. Once the doomsday bait is taken the Safari surfer could part with £50 unnecessarily, not realising they have been duped. The scam has travelled the Atlantic after sweeping through the US.
The Independent reports:
The issue seems to come in a number of different forms — with messages that read slightly differently and send users to different phone numbers. But the message they get when they ring those numbers are mostly the same: users are told by someone claiming to work for Apple that their data is being stolen by an app and they need to pay a usually large amount of money to have it deleted.
The problem can be stopped from happening by disabling pop-ups on the phone. To do so, users can head to Settings, choose Safari, and then turn on “Block Pop-ups”.
The solution means that no sites will be able to send pop-ups to the phone at all. But that’s unlikely to cause any problems, since pop-ups on mobile devices tend to be annoying — or to try and steal your money — anyway.
If the problem has already happened, the scam can be dismissed by turning on airplane mode and then deleting all Safari data. That’s done by heading to the Safari settings and telling the phone to “Clear history and website data”.