These scammers are looking for ways to a hold of your personal information.
Baltimore, Md (KM) It’s normally associated with desk top computers, but the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland says it has been receiving complaints about pop-up ads on mobile phones, some containing malware.
Jody Thomas with the BBB says it happened to her. “I was checking out the news late one evening and all of sudden, I got a pop-up on my iPhone and it said if I didn’t download this app, ironically from the Google Play Store, that my phone SIM card was going to be damaged, and that I could lose all my photos, and my contacts and everything else on my phone,” she says,
But Thomas says she was able to clear the app from her phone.
BBB’s Scam Tracker says there have been only three reports this year of iPhone pop-ups. But if you expand that to all “phone pop-up ads” that number increases to 78 additional reports so far in 2017.
The BBB reminds iPhone and Smartphone users who receive these types of pop-up ads not to download any apps they’re offering,. She says it could be a way for a hacker to get access to your personal information. “You need to be really careful and think twice before you get scared by an advertisement into doing something you shouldn’t and calling a phone number. Always do your homework,” she says.
As an example, downloading an app from an unknown source could expose your financial information to a hacker as many people use their mobile phones to do their banking. “Password, it could do keylogging. It’s hard to say exactly what the applications could go after,” says Thomas.
In some instances, these scammers can gain control of your mobile phone and only release it back to you if you pay a “ransom.” “Ransomware is real, and it’s happened to individuals and big companies and small companies. It’s scary someone can get that control and access over your device,” she says.
And even then, she says if you pay the “ransom,” there’ s no guarantee the hacker will release control of your phone back to you.
On its website, Apple advises that “when you browse the web, you might see a pop-up ad or a page warning about a problem with our device. It may even look like an alert coming from macOS or iOS. It isn’t. These alerts are pop-up ads designed to trick you into calling a phony support number or buying an app that claims to fix the issue. Don’t call the number. Simply close the pop-up ad or navigate away from that page and continue browsing.”
BBB also says if you receive a pop-up on your phone or desk top computer, report to the BBB, You can get more information on scams such as these and how to avoid them by going on line to bbb.org. If you feel your phone or desk top computer has been infected with a virus or malware, the BBB recommends you contact an IT specialist.
Thomas says these latest pop-up ads to gain access to mobile phones are the next generation of tech scams, which first appeared on desk top computers. “More and more users are using their mobile devices, so you have to be careful. There’s going to go where the money is, and the money’s moving to mobile,” she says.
By Kevin McManus