Getting scammed

I came close to getting scammed today. The whole episode was dumb and embarrassing.

I got a text saying my Apple ID was being used for a payment in an Apple Store and that I should call a number to sort it out. Apple support asked me to install the support/Teamviewer app to help me solve the problem. Embarrassingly, I said yes.

To their credit, they said the right things here. We kept going for three extra minutes until they tried convincing me to buy an Apple gift card so they could remove an unauthorized device from their server that I wasn’t able to see on my phone.

My honest response to myself after some frantic password updates after the call was – What the fuck*? How did I get so fooled? How did it take me so long to catch on?

In retrospect, it was a combination of things. It always is a combination.

I have been working away at upgrading my passwords. I was getting close to the end of this multi-week project and knew my Apple ID password hadn’t been updated. Confirmation bias.

I was in the midst of doing something else at a store. That led me to miss a few tell-tale signs.

I attempted to triage this while taking care of that something else. In that process, I missed more tell-tale signs. When the hell did Apple have a security support number? Don’t I always get alerts when my Apple ID is being accessed?

I finally caught on. But, I’m still cringing at how naïve I was. No amount of acknowledging this was embarrassing will be good enough for the next couple of days.

Scammers succeed because they focus on areas that we tend to be sensitive about – credit cards, taxes, identity theft, etc. But, the signs are nearly always there – text messages/weird sounding voicemails, poor grammar, Nigerian or Indian guys (sadly), weird procedures, etc.

When you’re dealing with suspicions of fraud, pay attention to these signs and stay safe. At the very least, I hope you’re smarter than I was in this instance.

I, on the other hand, will be focused on the words of wisdom from the wise Rafiki – “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But you can either run from it, or learn from it.”

There’s no running from this.

Here’s to learning from it.

*I rarely use expletives on this blog. Writing about this scolding to myself, however, did feel appropriate. Sorry if it offended you!