You definitely won’t get an FREE iPhone 12.

The next-gen mobile phone is going to be released soon (on October 23), and, as with every Apple’s launch, people get anxious waiting for their new acquisition.

This gives cybercriminals an advantage over the population, considering emotions of excitement and urgency are their #1 tool to infiltrates into everyone’s pockets.

And as in the case of the Emotet political-themed phishing campaign, this one also makes use of a relevant, trendy event to harvest credit card details. 

But today we won’t refer to email as the scamming weapon, or the Donald Trump and Joe Bidden presidential debate. 

Instead, we will focus on a fake iPhone 12 giveaway.

Here’s How the Free iPhone 12 Scam Works

Information-security luminary, Paul Ducklin (Sophos) researched and wrote on the Naked Security blog about a recent smishing campaign.

It happened because someone from the team got a message like if sent mistakenly. 

Here’s what the message looks like:

Fake iPhone 12 message

The chatbot texts. Source: Sophos

It looks like it has been sent to the wrong number. But it certainly doesn’t.

If you click on the shortened link (taking into account you probably are less skeptical of SMS messages than to email scams), then the free iPhone 12 scam begins.

You’ll encounter an “Apple chatbot” that sends messages referring to you as Christopher, inviting you to a free trial of the iPhone 12. 

It says…

 “Congratulations, you received an opportunity to be in the testing group for our newest iPhone 12 as part of the Apple 2020 testing program.”

All you have to do (or what “Christopher” has to do) is to ask for more information and accept the fake invitation, by clicking on another link disguised as Apple’s promotion address… Continuing to the next step.   

The chatbot will ask your name and address for confirmation, to proceed any further. 

This is just a psychological trigger made to classify the tire-kickers from the “real winners” (the next victims). Because after it shows you’ve passed the authentication, it will show one last barrier, which is the option to change your delivery address.

Sometimes, fraudsters will need this to complete their scam, and sometimes they won’t. But clearly, they will start profiting from the last step, that goes next: “an irresistible offer” with a credit card form to pay for it.

One rule of thumb to avoid this and other scams in the future is to be aware that there’s no such thing as FREE items. They’ll profit from it in one way or another.

And this is clearly the case for the “free” iPhone 12, as it is for “free” iPads, iPods, gaming consoles, and other devices used for scams on other occasions.

The closest you can even ever get to a “free iPhone” or a mobile phone from another brand, is with telecom companies. You can find 3 huge deals for the iPhone 12 here.

You’ll definitely get what was promised… So yes, you’ll pay for it, somehow. 

Now, a second consideration to make is that cybercriminals won’t hold on to a single type of technology or scam to do their chores. So, your alertness must keep even for SMS messages and phone calls, as you take precautions with emails and pop-ups.

But you don’t want to live with fear throughout the day. That’s why our team of IT experts are ready to solve your doubts and attend you when emergencies occur.  

Who’s going to protect your personal and business assets, if not you? 

We can and will… If you want it to.