Consumer Alert: BBB reports uptick in Apple technical support scam reports, tips given on avoiding robocalls

Published: Sep. 27, 2020 at 6:27 PM CDT
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FOX CROSSING, Wis. (WBAY) - A popular scam is costing people money.

Fox Crossing police say two people lost thousands of dollars in gift card scams, saying one scammer was impersonating Apple, making it sound like it was technical support calling because there was an issue with their account.

This comes after viewers have e-mailed and called Action 2 News about illegal robocalls.

Police say one popular scam call impersonates Apple, with the scam call audio saying the following:

“Press 1 to connect with Apple support advisor, press 2 to listen to this message again.”

Action 2 News first told you about the Apple Care scam earlier this month, and the Wisconsin Department of AG, Trade, Consumer Protection say they received multiple reports of people getting calls claiming there’s an issue with their iCloud account or Apple ID.

Now, the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin says they’re seeing an uptick in this scam.

“This is personal to me because my mother-in-law actually got roped into an Apple tech support scam as well. She was on the phone with the scammer for about an hour, fortunately she didn’t lose any money. It’s really a relentless problem, because once you pick up the phone or engage with them, you’re likely to get more telemarketing calls, not less,” says Susan Bach of the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin.

One of the reasons these scams continue is because sometimes it works - in Susan’s case, her mother-in-law didn’t lose money, but there have been a few cases in the Fox Cities where people did lose money.

“If it didn’t work, scammers wouldn’t do it. Take a well known company like Apple, they’re just playing the odds that this random number they’re calling has some kind of Apple account or something like that. It’s so frustrating and they’re just relentless,” said Bach.

If you answer the call, this means you’re going to get more scam calls.

“Your number was phone dialed randomly, and so if you pick up the phone and engage with them your confirming to that computer that they have reached a real number, and not only that but now you’re considered a good lead and they’ll sell your number to other scammers because you’re willing to engage with them, you’re telling them what time you’re home and available,” said Bach.

The BBB says to use an answering machine to screen calls, or get call blocking.

“Reach out to your phone service provider, see if they can implement call blocking technology. When a call comes into your phone and it’s run through like a filter or black list of scammers, it’ll be disconnected by your phone service provider. Your phone rings once and it’s disconnected,” said Bach.

In addition, the BBB says you can also download apps for your cell phone, but make sure you check reviews. You can also screen your calls - don’t answer a call you don’t recognize, even if it looks local.

Scammers are skilled in making legitimate phone numbers appear in your Caller ID.

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