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PHISHING - Apple ID 'Complete Our Validation Process' Email


Outline

Email purporting to be from Apple Customer Service claims that you must complete a validation process for your account or risk suspension of your Apple ID.

Facebook phising
© Depositphotos.com/ weerapat

Brief Analysis

The email is not from Apple. It is a phishing scam designed to steal not only your apple ID login details, but also a large amount of your personal and financial information.

Example

Subject: Complete our validation process
Dear Customer,
We need to ask you to complete a short and brief step to securing and validating your account information.
Click here to complete validation
Failure to complete our validation process will result in a suspension of your Apple ID.
We take every step needed to automatically validate our users, unfortunately in your case we were unable to. The process only takes a couple of minutes and will make sure there is no interruption to your account.
Wondering why you got this email?
This email was sent automatically during routine security checks. We are not completely satisfied with your account information and require you to update your account to continue using our services uninterrupted.
For more information, see our FAQ.
Thanks,
Apple Customer Service


Detailed Analysis

'Apple' Email Claims You Must Complete Validation Process

According to this email, which claims to be from Apple Customer Service, you must click a link to follow a validation process for your account. Supposedly, Apple is 'not completely satisfied with your account information' and it was unable to automatically validate your account as it does with other users.

Therefore, claims the message, you must complete validation for your account or your Apple ID will be suspended.

Email is Not From Apple - Phishing Scam

However, the email is not from Apple Customer Service and the claim that you must complete an account validation process is untrue.

Instead, the email is a phishing scam designed to steal your personal and financial information.

If you click the link in the email, you will be taken to a fake login page that closely resembles a genuine Apple web page. Once you have 'signed in' on the fake page by providing your Apple ID and password, you will be taken to a second fake page that hosts a validation form. Again, the page looks like a real Apple web page.  The form asks you to provide a significant amount of personal and financial information, including your name, contact and address details, your credit card numbers, and identity data such as your driver's licence number (see screenshot below).

After you have submitted the information requested via the bogus form, you will be seamlessly redirected to the genuine Apple website.

Armed with your stolen information, the criminals conducting this phishing attack can commit credit card fraud and attempt to steal your identity. They can also use your Apple ID to access your account and use it for further fraudulent activities such as sending scam messages in your name and buying items via the Apple store.

Scammers quite regularly target Apple customers via similar 'account validation' ruses. However, as such scams go, this example is more sophisticated than many of its ilk.

The email and associated scam pages are professionally presented and many less experienced users may mistake them for the real thing.  The email lacks many of the spelling and grammatical errors that are a common giveaway in many scam messages.

You can report any Apple phishing scams you receive via the reporting email address listed on the company's website.

Beware Messages Claiming You Must Validate Account Details

A favourite scammer ruse is to send out emails claiming that you must validate, update, or verify your account details or risk account suspension. Such phishing attempts have targeted customers of many online services.

Genuine companies are unlikely to send you an unsolicited email claiming that you must click a link or open an attachment to validate account information. Be very wary of any message that makes such a request.

Rather than clicking a link in an email, it is safer to login to all of your online accounts by entering the address in your browser's address bar or via an officially endorsed company app.



Apple validation screenshot

Last updated: September 9, 2014
First published: September 9, 2014
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Phishing Scams - Anti-Phishing Information
Apple - Report Phishing
Microsoft Cyber-Crime Department Phishing Scam Paypal 'We Need Your Help Resolving an Issue