Beware! Free Apple products used as lure in text scams

Filed Under: Apple, Featured, Mobile

Unread text messagesHave you received an unexpected text message on your cellphone telling you that you're the lucky winner of an Apple product?

Well, I have some bad news for you. It's not true.


Naked Security has received reports from a number of phone owners around the world who have received SMS text messages in the past few days suggesting that a free Apple product is theirs for the taking:

Apple text scam

A typical message reads:

Congratulations, your today's Apple winner! Go to [REDACTED] and on last page enter code: 2916 to claim your Free Apple Product.

So, what happens if you do click on the link included in the text message?

Well, when I tested the link redirected me via a number of webpages before finally giving me the opportunity to win either an iPad, iPhone 4S, or a MacBook.

I decided to punt for a shiny new MacBook, and I was presented with a ridiculously easy multiple choice question to answer.

But take care before going much further through the process - you might believe that you could be in the run-in to win a prize from Apple, but the small print tells a different story:

Service costs £3 per question played and a £4.50 sign up fee. You will receive an additional £1.50 charge for a reminder message tomorrow.

Yes, I'm afraid so. The webpage is going to encourage you to hand over your mobile phone number, and then use it to sign you up for an expensive service.

If you're not careful and don't read the small print, you will find that you have accidentally authorised a premium rate service to sign you up - adding dollars each week to your phone bill.

This isn't the first time that text scammers have used this technique, of course. And my guess is that it won't be the last either.

Cellphone spammers seem to love offering Apple products as bait to lure in the unwary, perhaps because the Cupertino-designed hardware is so desirable.

Always take care about clicking on links sent to you out of the blue, even if they arrive on your mobile phone. And learn an important lesson now, once and for all: Apple, one of the world's most successful companies, is not in the habit of giving away its products for free.

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12 Responses to Beware! Free Apple products used as lure in text scams

  1. Judi · 1114 days ago

    Yes....a while back I got one. It took me a couple of seconds to think it thru.....then deleted.
    Get them often now, and because I don't have my phone turned on very often.....I might get 4-5 in a week. Pretty suss.

    • Richard · 1114 days ago

      Oh, it's not a swindle. What you do is, see, you give them all your credit card numbers, and if one of them is lucky, they send you a prize.

    • Anetta · 1102 days ago

      I got one too, early in the mornint, woke me up. I thought, what? and where would apple get my number? I deleted it without opening it. 2roses

  2. @Otaku2012 · 1114 days ago

    Only an idiot would fall for this kind of scam, lol.

  3. Will · 1114 days ago

    Got this text message yesterday, didn't try to open the link.

  4. Tim Gowen · 1114 days ago

    The fact that it's Apple hardware is sort of immaterial, really.

  5. Robert Gracie · 1113 days ago

    I got a few of those but all I did on my phone was I blocked the number and they havent bothered me to block the numbers responsible and report them on to someone else who can take action and they wont bother you again

    • King · 1113 days ago

      Assuming the number listed is real, which it almost certainly is not.

  6. Elaine · 1113 days ago

    I just got one too - thanks for the warning I didn't open it

  7. kaylee · 1113 days ago

    i just received one as well and apple would never send anything to your phone wonder how many ppl fell for this

  8. John · 1109 days ago

    I just got one today, so I googled the message and confirmed that it was indeed, a scam. Thank you for the clarification. :)

  9. Mike · 974 days ago

    Got one today (from+1631428XXXX) but checked on your site............thanks for very useful information.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley