Email purporting to be from the iTunes store lists orders supposedly made via the user’s Apple account. The email informs users that, if they suspect that their account has been hijacked, they should click a link and supply information to rectify the issue.
The email is not from iTunes and the listed order details are fake. Those panicked into clicking the link will be taken to a bogus website that asks them to supply personal and financial information. This information will be collected by criminals and used to commit fraud and identity theft.
Subject: Purchase No: 875097091830
If you did not order the above products and suspect your account has been hijacked kindly visit the link below.
You will be asked some specific questions about you and your financial data to prove you actually owned the account.
This email, which purports to be from the iTunes store, lists several items supposedly purchased by the recipient. The email advises that, if the recipient did not place the listed orders, he or she should click a link to deal with the suspected account hijacking. The message explains that the user must prove that he or she actually owns the ‘hijacked’ account by supplying specific personal and financial data.
The email is formatted to mirror a genuine iTunes message and includes the Apple logo.
However, the email is not from iTunes and the listed order details do not show real purchases. In fact, the email is a phishing scam designed to extract a large amount of sensitive personal and financial information from victims.
The criminals behind the scam hope that at least a few recipients will be panicked by the thought that their Apple account has been illegally used to rack up a sizable bill in their names and click the link as instructed.
Those who do click the link will be taken to a bogus website tricked up to look like a genuine Apple login page. After logging in with their Apple ID, victims will be taken to a second fake page containing a form that requests their personal and financial data:
After supplying and submitting the requested information, users will be taken to a third fake page claiming that they have completed their ‘account verification’ and payments for the bogus purchases have been refunded:
The fake page also claims that the verification still needs to be ‘confirmed’, a process that could take up to 48 hours. Supposedly, a notification email will be sent to the users as soon as the account has been confirmed. Satisfied that the problem has been successfully rectified, victims may happily go about their business none the wiser.
But, alas, no ‘confirmation’ email will ever arrive. And, meanwhile, the criminals can use the stolen data to commit credit card fraud and identity theft. Ironically given the supposed reason for supplying the data in the first place, the criminals can also use the stolen login details to hijack the Apple accounts belonging to their victims and use them for their own nefarious purposes.
Be very wary of any email that claims that you must click a link or open an attached file to rectify an account issue, cancel a suspect payment, or update account details. These are very common phishing ploys. It is always safest to login to your online accounts by entering the account address into your browser’s address bar or via an app supplied by the company or a trusted third party developer.
The Apple support website includes information about phishing scams and instructions for reporting suspect emails.