Phishing Scam. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Lonely At Home, Man Intentionally Clicks On An Apple Support Phishing Email

Robert Herjavec says isolation, fear, and panic are making people susceptible to cyber scams

Steve Morgan, Editor-in-Chief

Northport, N.Y. – Apr. 1, 2020

Did you hear the one about the guy who was so lonely that he struck up a conversation with a cyber intruder? It may sound like an April Fool’s Day joke, but it’s a true story.

Humans are the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. Each one of us has a pulse, a heart, and a brain. Humanity is beautiful, but we’re also prone to letting our emotions get the best of us.

“The isolation that so many people in our communities are feeling right now is really difficult,” said Robert Herjavec, founder and CEO at Herjavec Group, and a Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank, during a recent podcast with Cybercrime Magazine.

Herjavec’s friend told him a story about how his father recently received a phony email from Apple Support, asking for his credentials. Normally, the father would have just deleted the email. “He knew it was a phishing scam,” Herjavec said, “but he still wanted to answer it because he was so happy someone was communicating with him.”

Early last year, Brian Krebs, an investigative journalist behind the popular KrebsOnSecurity blog, noted that “a new phone-based phishing scam that spoofs Apple Inc. is likely to fool quite a few people.

That same tech support scam, and others like it, are certain to be calling on lonely remote workers who have been thrust into isolation due to the COVID-19 outbreak — with many of them using Apple gear.

The mental aspect of being at home and staying diligent is hard, Herjavec admits. But he says it’s important to stay diligent even when you’re feeling isolated, and realize you need to keep your guard up against phishing emails.

“The same rules haven’t changed,” Herjavec says. “No bank is going to ask you for your credentials. Apple is not going to send you an email, asking you for your password.”

Advice From Apple

“While browsing the web, if you see a message that your iPhone, Mac, or other Apple device has a virus, or someone claiming to be from Apple calls and asks for your account name and password, you’re likely the target of a scam,” according to an Apple blog.

Obviously, you shouldn’t click, no matter how lonely you might be! Apple advises that if you receive a phishing email that’s designed to look like it’s from Apple, send it to reportphishing@apple.com.

Apple adds that scammers may spoof legitimate company phone numbers and use flattery and threats to pressure you into giving them information, money, and even iTunes gift cards. If you get an unsolicited or suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be from Apple, just hang up.

You can report fraudulent tech support calls to the Federal Trade Commission (U.S. only) at ftccomplaintassistant.gov or to your local law enforcement agency.

Phishing Tips

If you have a family member that is home alone and at potential risk for cyber scams, then remind them of these 5 prevention tips — be skeptical, don’t click, say no to ‘freebies’, never wire money to strangers, and hang up.

Herjavec is constantly reminding businesses and consumers to be vigilant when it comes to cyber scams. His most recent column in Cybercrime Magazine shares 10 tips on how to spot a phishing scam.

“Cybercriminals thrive on chaos, whether it’s real or perceived,” says Herjavec. “Your team will experience an uptick in phishing attacks as a result of the global Coronavirus pandemic,” he alerts CISOs and security teams.

Steve Morgan is founder and Editor-in-Chief at Cybersecurity Ventures.

Go here to read all of my blogs and articles covering cybersecurity. Go here to send me story tips, feedback and suggestions.

Suzanne Kattau-Marill, Sr. Editor & Producer at Cybercrime Magazine, contributed to this story.



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