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BBB Scam Alert: Charged for an iPhone you didn’t buy? Don’t panic

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  This phishing scam looks like an honest mistake, but it’s not. The Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker is getting reports of phony emails that appear to be receipts for a new iPhone… that you didn’t buy. Scammers are hoping you’ll panic and contact them to correct the “error.”

How the scam works

  You receive an email saying you purchased a new iPhone, and your Amazon account, bank account or credit card will be charged. But you didn’t buy a new phone! Eager to reverse the charge, you call the customer service number included in the email. The email might even specifically say: “Didn’t make this purchase? Contact us at…” or “If you feel you are receiving this message in error, contact us immediately.”

  When you call the number, you speak to a helpful customer service representative who says they can fix the problem. However, you must act immediately before the charge posts to your account.

  One consumer reported the following: “I called the number to get a refund. I told them there wasn’t a purchase on my account for $999 and they told me it wouldn’t show up for 24 hours and that’s why I need to cancel it right away.” The scammer asked the consumer to download an app as part of the refund process. When the consumer refused, the scammer hung up on them.

  Con artists also told victims that their accounts had been hacked. In these cases, the “customer service rep” asked for credit card or bank information, claiming they need it to cancel the sale. No matter what scammers say, don’t fall for it. Remember, con artists often stoop to scare tactics to trick you into action.

How to avoid phishing scams

  • Double check the sender’s email address. Phishing emails are usually designed to look like they come from a reputable source, such as your bank or Amazon. But look closely at the sender’s email to see if it’s really from an official source.
  • Check your bank for charges first. If you receive an email claiming that you’ve made a purchase, check your bank or credit card account. If the change isn’t there, it’s likely a scam. Don’t contact the scammers. Instead, erase the email and block the sender.
  • Never click on suspicious links. It’s best not to click on links in unsolicited emails you receive from unknown senders. These links could download malware onto your computer or mobile device, making you vulnerable to identity theft.

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