Beware "iCloud Breach" Phone Scam


(Adam Engst) #1

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2018/05/23/beware-icloud-breach-phone-scam/

Apple users report receiving multiple automated calls per day from a scammer claiming to be “Apple Support Care” and warning of an iCloud breach. Just hang up and get a call-blocking app.


(Richard Rettke) #2

If you’re an AT&T customer (like me), AT&T Has a free app called “Call Protect”. It is based on Hiya, but because it’s from the service provider, it has the ability to block the calls before they ever become calls. It’s actually pretty rare that a spam/scam call actually makes it to my phone, and it’s really easy to block & report it. I had used Hiya before Call Protect became available, Hiya is good, Call Protect is remarkable.


(Simon) #3

If you’re on the T-Mobile One plan you can get carrier-side spam/scam call blocking for free. I routinely get warned about nefarious calls by T-Mobile this way so I can refuse the call right away.

For the rare cases where I get spammed from a number that they don’t flag, I have set up a special contact (named Sir Spam-A-Lot) that I add these numbers to [1]. I set up that contact to be blocked. So they can continue to try, but I’m left in peace and quiet - they can’t even get to voicemail.

[1] This great tip courtesy of TidBITS’ own Glenn Fleishman.


(Fritz Mills) #4

Robokiller isn’t free (it’s $20/year), but it works with all the carriers to block spam calls. I’m on Verizon which, to my knowledge doesn’t have a spam-blocking service, so I use it. It tries to geolocate where the call is coming from based on the number and, if it can, it will show you a photo of the location from Google StreetView. Also, it will try to do a reverse-directory lookup and display the name and address of the listing if it can find one. This can be useful if you’re not sure about a number, but you recognize the building or the listing info. But if it thinks it’s spam, the phone doesn’t ring and it doesn’t go to VM. It’s coolest feature is that it will actually answer spam calls and try to waste the time of the caller by talking nonsense. It even records the calls it answers, and some of the recordings can be pretty funny.


(Ray Kloss) #5

On my ATT plan I have recently been getting calls with an phone ID of “Telemarketer" or “Political Call”.

I do use Call Protect so I am not sure if it is due to that or other people reporting the number and then ATT IDs it that way. Very helpful for deciding not to pick up the call.


(Adam Engst) #6

@glennf was just telling me about this too, so I’ll add it to the article.

I’ll see if I can find a link to this and add it as well.


(David Weintraub) #7

If you have T-Mobile’s latest phone plan, your phone will say “Spam Likely” if you get a likely spam call. If you want to block these calls entirely, you can dial “#662#”.

I’ve tried NoMoRobo and RoboKiller with abismal results. In fact, not only did RoboKiller not block most spam, it actually blocked legitimate calls. I was getting over a dozen or so spam calls per day. Heck, it got to the point where if my phone rang, it was a 95% chance it was spam.

I am now paying $4/month to T-Mobile for Name ID which shows me the caller ID of all calls. If a call doesn’t have a called ID, I reject it. If it has some farcical ID like “CUST SERVICE” or “FULFILLMENT CNTR”, I reject it. If it’s some name like “SLVAD CJELLI”, I reject it. All rejected calls are sent to voicemail. There, I can use the voicemail transcript to see if I need to respond.

Surprisingly, the number of spam calls I was gettIng is now less. Probably because I am less likely to answer my phone for a spam call.


(David Weintraub) #8

Link to T-Mobile services of ScamID, ScamBlock, and NameID: https://www.t-mobile.com/resources/call-protection


(Adam Engst) #9

Thanks, I’ve updated the article with a good bit more information.


(Jim Chaffin) #10

All those apps and service provider option are nice, but iOS already has a fine blocking system. What I want is something that will work on my land lines. Yes, there are still some of us who use those. And don’t bother telling me I should switch to VoIP, I can’t remember the last time my landline was inop… not counting the time the Comcast installer switched the connections at the box, even after I told him I did NOT want Comcast handling my phones!:stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: AT&T will gladly block 10 whole numbers! iOS doesn’t seem to have any upper limits!:clap: Yeah, I’m a cheapskate!


(David Weintraub) #11

NoMoRobo works on many voIP land line” system and is free for the consumer. The phone company pays NoMoRobo directly. There are about a dozen carriers that work with NoMoRobo, but they’re the biggest ones. Optimum, Xfinity, Frontier, Cox, Spectrum, U-Verse, and FIOS. Others like VOIPo are too.

See https://www.nomorobo.com/signup for more information.


(Ray Kloss) #12

AT&T will gladly block 10 whole numbers

My U-verse ATT will block over 100 numbers


(Jim Chaffin) #13

I cannot find anything about call blocking on the ATT Uverse pages. Their now renamed Uverse-Voice is just another VoIP service. As I said, I don’t want to depend on an interweb/ISP/computer form phone service. They go down several times a year, Last time the landline was down was when they connected it 21+ years ago!

Besides, we’re well over 100 unwanted/SCAM/etc. calls. I was surprised that I could get help with my “college loan repayment” even after 53 years plus never having made a loan:stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


(Ray Kloss) #14

This is my reference from ATT from a bill


(Jim Chaffin) #15

Thanks! Have a SCAM free weekend! :wink:


(Dennis Swaney) #16

I tried Call Protect and have removed it from my iPhone permanently. For some reason it sends multiple identical notifications for each call. For example it once sent 2 identical notices for 1 call and for another it sent 4! Tried deleting it and then reinstalling it a week later, but it still did the same thing.


(Dennis Swaney) #17

My Panasonic LL phone has call blocking built in to it.


(mpainesyd) #18

I am looking for similar spam-blocking services in Australia. I particularly like the one that wastes the time of the spammer. Thes days I have to send all my landline calls to an answering machine because most are unwanted.


(Jim Chaffin) #19

Thanks for the info. Now remind me of that when we next buy some LL phones! :wink:


(Dennis Swaney) #20

Jim, I actually went out and replaced our previous LL phone (and its associated cordless handsets) with the Panasonic and its associated handsets JUST to get the call blocking feature!