This seems to happen every time a new iPhone gets revealed and, yet, some people never seem to learn. You have probably seen this exact scam or a variation of it on Facebook and other social media platforms. A post will offer a free iPhone X in return for filling out a small survey or clicking a link. As with most things in life, if the chance of getting a free iPhone X sounds too good to be true then it probably is.
Scammers capitalize on the insane amount of hype for new devices like the iPhone X to get people excited. This year it has become even easier to dupe people partially thanks to the price of the iPhone X. The chance to get a free iPhone X (normally $999 starting price) is enough to make some people click whatever link is presented to them.
There are a few different types of scams that use this “free iPhone X” formula. A scam called “fame farming” is probably the most innocent of the scams as it does nothing more than get people excited for no reason. What scammers will do in this situation is create a page that may look official. For example, they may have the Apple logo as their profile photo and use Apple’s marketing images when creating posts. The name of the page could be something official sounding like “iPhone X Official Fan Page” to help create that sense of trust among social media users. Then, they will make a post saying that they are giving away a number of free iPhone X devices for anyone who likes and shares the page. Once the number of likes reaches a certain amount, they will rebrand the page for another purpose or sell it to someone who wants a Facebook page with a large number of followers. Obviously, no iPhones are given away. You have surely seen this kind of scam in the form of free WalMart gift cards, free car giveaways, and other high end products.
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Other scammers may use links as a phishing scam to gain control of your social media profile and other online accounts. These phishing sites often look official to confuse people into giving away their log in information. Always check the website URL when entering log in information on any website. If you notice that there is something odd about the web address then stop what you are doing and back out. Better safe than sorry in these situations.
Malicious links are also a popular choice among scammers. Clicking on these links to claim your free iPhone X can lead to malware being installed on your PC. This is basically the modern version of those flashy popup ads that said you were the 1,000,000th visitor. Don’t click on any link that you don’t trust.
One more popular scam that uses the free iPhone X method asks for charitable donations. This scam has seen a huge rise in popularity recently after Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Scammers prey on the goodwill of people who want to help others by setting up fake charities. The “charity” will often offer an entry to win an iPhone X if you donate $1. For most people, the donation amount is small enough not to worry about and the potential to win a $999 iPhone X is very alluring. Of course, the donated money is never used for the intended purpose and an iPhone X is never given away. There is also the potential for financial information to be stolen. Before you donate to any charitable cause be sure to research the charity before handing over any money or financial information.
The moral of the story? Unless you work for Apple you probably won’t get your hands on a free iPhone X any time soon. The device is expected to be one of the best selling iPhone launches ever and Apple has no reason to give any of their stock away for free. If you see an offer online that seems too good to be true: it is.