Long before streaming was ever a thing, there was Apple. However, as a computer, cell phone, and general technology powerhouse for decades, it only makes sense that Apple would eventually jump into the streaming fray with their Apple TV and, more recently, Apple TV+ streaming services.
Apple TV was created as an app to be used on Macs, iPads, iPhones, iPods and other Apple devices, as well as any smart TVs that can support the app. Via paid subscriptions, users can access an array of content “channels,” like CBS All Access, Showtime, epix, STARZ, etc. In 2019, Apple TV+ was launched to offer exclusive original content.
Being so popular, Apple and its Apple TV apps have attracted plenty of hackers and scammers. How can you tell if you could be the victim of an Apple TV scam? And how can you stop someone who may already have access to your account?
Read the following guide to find out more about the common scams associated with Apple TV and Apple TV+, how to verify if your account(s) have been hacked, and how to get rid of any unauthorized users who might have gotten in.
(Do you use a streaming service other than Apple TV or Apple TV+? Check out our other Streaming Service Scams guides for help with other major providers.)
Popular Scams Associated with Apple TV
The most common scams associated with Apple TV and Apple TV+ are pretty much the same kinds of scams that Apple in general has been dealing with for decades prior:
Apple Support Scams
Many scammers attempt to trick their marks by making them think that Apple Support is contacting them. This could be by phone, email, or even text. These scammers rely on a customer’s panic over losing access to their account to make them hand over information or payment without thinking.
The Apple Support phone scam has evolved over the years. Today’s more sophisticated scams involve phone number spoofing, in which a scammer is actually able to replicate a real Apple Support phone number; if you try to call it back, it actually goes to Apple Support. But pay attention to the language a person at this number uses. And keep this in mind: Apple never contacts its customers via phone, only email.
Similarly, an email that’s supposedly from Apple Support could look quite legitimate. But how can you be sure?
- Hopefully, you have an original correspondence from Apple that you know is real; use that one to compare with the one you just received.
- Look closely at the spelling and grammar in the email. If it’s stilted or error-filled, you can be sure it’s a phishing scam.
- Hover your cursor, without clicking, on any links in the email. See what destination web address appears and if it looks legitimate or not.
- Verify the sender’s address. In this case, official emails should only come from a @apple.com email address.
Apple also warns against clicking on any questionable pop-up ads that might come your way. Just rest assured that you are not passing a great deal by. Apple does not use pop-up ads to market their products and services, and especially not at the greatly reduced rates that a pop-up might suggest.
How to Find Out if Your Apple TV Account Was Hacked
Avoiding scams is all well and good. But even then, your Apple TV account could still wind up in the hands of hackers. How can you tell if that’s happened?
You Get Locked Out of Your Account
You try to sign-in to your account, and after several attempts to enter your password, you get locked out. One reason why your current password may have failed is that someone has accessed your account and has changed your password.
Your best recourse at this point would be to try and Recover Your Apple ID.
You Get a Notification that You’re Locked Out of Your Account
This is actually more the sign of an attempted hack, rather than a successful one. It means that someone attempted to guess your password and, after a few failed tries, got locked out. So, the good news is that no one unauthorized has gotten into your account. But the bad news is that you are locked out of your own account, as well as the hacker.
Go to the same Recover Your Apple ID page mentioned above to try and regain access.
Steps You Should Take to Block Hackers
In order to discourage hackers from trying to access your account, there are a couple of things you should do immediately after a suspected attack:
Change Your Password
With any and all of your online accounts, you want unique and relatively complex passwords that only you should be able to guess. To reset your Apple password:
- Click on “Sign-In,” and then “Forgot Apple ID or password?”
- Follow the instructions to recover your Apple ID (if needed), and then change your password.
Changing your password may make it harder for hackers to get into your account. However, it won’t necessarily stop them from trying, which could lead back again to getting locked out and having to go through that whole recovery process again. A more effective way to manage that is by activating 2-factor authentication for your account.
Doing so means that access to your account can only come from your trusted devices. If you or anyone else tries to sign-in on a different device, Apple will require you to verify your identity by supplying your password as well as a six-digit verification code that’s sent to your phone.
In other words, no code, no access. And this same capability can make it easier for you to recover your Apple ID and account access if you do ever happen to get locked out of your account again.
After so much time in the tech business, it’s no wonder that Apple would stay as much on the cutting edge as possible when it comes to customer account security. Knowing that they (Apple Support) is there to help, you can enjoy your Apple TV, Apple TV+, and other apps even more.
This post is one in a series about managing streaming service scams. Others include:
For more information about scams in general, you can find it on the PeopleFinders blog.
Photo credit: Worawee Meepian – www.shutterstock.com