A reader: Over the weekend, I received at least 30 phone calls on my home phone. It was a pre-recorded message saying that “your iCloud has been compromised.” The recording asked me to call 844-369-3821. I didn’t call them back but the number of calls they made to me was super annoying. My phone literally rang all weekend long and it was too hot to go outside. Is this a scam?
Action Line: I’m so glad to hear that you did not invest any time or money by calling them back. This latest scam has been hitting the Central Valley hard. Some callers have advised that the scammers have gone so far as to spoof the actual phone number for the Apple Store located in Fashion Fair mall in an effort to make the potential victim believe the call is legitimate.
We want to warn the general public not to trust what the caller ID says. Some of these calls are going to consumers that don’t even have Apple products. Apple would never make calls like this to consumers. According to the Federal Trade Commission, everyone’s a potential target. Fraud isn’t limited to race, ethnic background, gender, age, education, or income. That said, some scams seem to concentrate in certain groups. For example, older people may be targeted because the caller assumes they may live alone, have a nest egg, or may be more polite toward strangers.
If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it’s a robocall. Recorded messages that are trying to sell you something are generally illegal unless you have given the company written permission to call you.
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If you get a robocall:
▪ Hang up the phone. Don’t press 1 to speak to a live operator or any other key to take your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.
▪ Consider asking your phone company whether they charge for blocking phone numbers. Remember that telemarketers change Caller ID information easily and often, so it might not be worth paying a fee to block a number that will change.
If you get phone service through internet or cable, you might want to look into services that screen and block robocalls. Try doing an online search for “block robocalls.”
Robocalls are on the rise again. The reason is simple: technology. Scammers can use auto dialers that can send thousands of calls out every minute for next to nothing. The scammers don’t generally screen the National Do Not Call Registry. So you can be relatively sure that if they do not obey the law, they are most probably trying to scam you. So just hang up.
Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.