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Scam alert: Beware of Apple tech support impersonators

Cyber-crooks are abusing Apple's remote assistance feature and are trying to scam people, security experts have warned on Tuesday.

According to a report by Malwarebytes (opens in new tab), cyber-crooks have created a website called ara-apple.com, and it should not be confused with ara.apple.com.

Ara.apple.com is Apple's official remote assistance site, where any Apple user who's having trouble with their machine can go and ask a certified technician for help.

Ara-apple, however, is nothing more than a scam.

It’s a pretty elaborate scheme, Malwarebytes says, which requires a few sites that will trick victims into believing their computers are malfunctioning.

“These pages are designed to scare people into thinking there is something wrong with their computer. Fraudsters will use all sorts of messages, audio warnings and other artefacts in order to social engineer marks into calling for assistance,” the report says.

“Typically scammers will have the victim browse to LogMeIn or TeamViewer and have them download the remote software necessary to take remote control. However, and especially in this case that involves Apple consumers, this step may seem unnatural, not part of the whole “Apple experience”. For this reason, the crooks registered a website with a domain name that looks like the real Apple one (ara.apple.com) by calling it ara-apple.com,” it says in the report.

Malwarebytes says it has contacted GoDaddy, where the domain is registered, as well as hosting provider Liquid Web, so that they can take appropriate actions and shut the scheme down.

“As always, please be particularly suspicious of alarming pop ups or websites that claim your computer may be infected,” the report concludes.

“Remember that Apple would never use such methods to have you call them or would never call you directly either.”

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.