Scamwatch: Apple customers targeted

beautiful girl playing mobile...
beautiful girl playing mobile...

Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles giving you the lowdown on the scams they use to trick people out of their hard-earned cash - and how to avoid being taken in by them.

This week, a new phishing scam targeting Apple iPhone and computer users that is spreading rapidly.

How does it work?

Apple customers are being targeted by a scam that tricks them into clicking on a link and handing over their personal details, supposedly to prevent their Apple IDs expiring.

The scam appears to have already fooled lots of people, partly because it is addressed to people by name rather than simply "user" or "customer" as is the norm with phishing messages.

However, those who click on the link are taken to a fake website, where they are asked to enter their username and password before being told that their Apple ID has been "locked for security reasons".

To "unlock" their account, they are then asked to enter further personal details including their date of birth, telephone number, address and credit card details.

How can I avoid being caught out?

If you receive an email or a message on your iPhone from "Apple Inc" claiming that your Apple ID is about to expire, delete it now.

Remember too to always be very wary of any messages asking for your login or personal details and, at the very least, check that the email address or number from which the message is sent is genuine before responding or clicking on an embedded link.

Better still, call the company or organisation in question on a separately sourced number and speak to them directly to find out whether a message has been sent.

I've been defrauded. What should I do?

If you fall for a phishing message or email, contact the relevant organisations to change compromised passwords and block any resulting transactions as soon as possible.

As some experts also believe that clicking the link in this particular message results in it being sent to everyone in your address book, it may also be worth warning your friends and family about the scam.

Why Smart People Fall For Dumb Scams
Why Smart People Fall For Dumb Scams