iTunes “Your Account is on Hold” Phishing Scam

Email purporting to be from Apple claims that your subscription with iTunes has expired and your account has therefore been put on hold until you click a link to renew.

Brief Analysis:
The email is not from Apple and the claim that you need to renew your iTunes subscription is untrue. The email is a phishing scam designed to steal your Apple ID login credentials, your credit card numbers, and other sensitive personal information.

iTunes Account on Hold Phishing Scam

Detailed Analysis:
According to this email, which claims to be from Apple, your iTunes subscription has expired and your Apple account has therefore been put on hold. To remove the hold, claims the email, you need to click a renewal link and follow the instructions. The email includes the Apple logo and, at least at first glance, may appear to be a genuine Apple notification message.

However, the email is not from Apple and the claim that you must renew your iTunes subscription by clicking a link is a lie. In fact, the email is a phishing scam designed to steal your personal and financial information.

If you click the bogus renewal link, you will be taken to a fraudulent webpage designed to look like the genuine Apple website. You will first be asked to enter your Apple ID and password, ostensibly to begin the subscription renewal process. After “logging in” on the fake site, you will be taken to a form that asks you to provide your credit card information as well as your address and contact details and date of birth (see screenshot below).

After hitting the “confirm” button on the fake form, you may receive a message claiming that you have successfully renewed your subscription.

But, now, online criminals can collect the information you provided and use it to hijack your Apple account and commit credit card fraud. They may also be able to use the personal details you submitted along with other information taken from your account to steal your identity.

Apple phishing scams like this one are very common and take many forms. Be wary of any email or text message that purports to be from Apple and claims that you must click a link or open an attached file to avoid an account suspension, update details, or fix a supposed account problem. Apple will not send you messages that make such demands.

The Apple website includes information about how to identify and report such phishing scams.

A screenshot of the fake website form:
Fake Itunes renewal webpage

Last updated: November 5, 2016
First published: November 5, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
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