- What Are Apple Pay Scams?
- How To Beat and Avoid Apple Pay Scams
- Warning Signs to Watch Out For
- What To Do if You've Fallen for Apple Pay Scams
- Frequently Asked Questions
Apple Pay scams can be avoided as long as you know how they work and red flags to watch out for. To avoid being scammed, you should only use Apple Pay to transfer money to people you know and to legitimate businesses.
What Are Apple Pay Scams?
As an alternative to a physical wallet, Apple Pay makes it easier to send and receive payments right from your cell phone. Since its debut in 2014, Apple Pay boasts 507 million users worldwide opting for the digital wallet over cash.
Unfortunately, its popularity, ease of completing a transaction between two people, and simple design have caught the attention of scammers as well. Take a look at the most common Apple Pay scams and how they work.
Out of nowhere, you receive a private transaction from someone on Apple Pay who asks you to return the money. Naturally, you believe it was an honest mistake and send the money back. However, in reality, the scammer (the person requesting money) had connected a stolen credit card to Apple Pay and used it to transfer money to you.
Once you refund the money, they'll delete the stolen card and add their own card so that the funds you sent will be transferred to them—you've lost the money you sent to the scammer.
Fake Payment Methods
You're selling something online, probably a big-ticket item like a car or computer. Someone offers to purchase the item using Apple Pay or their Apple Cash Card. Unfortunately, they're using a stolen credit card.
Once you accept the payment and send the item, you find out it wasn't legitimate. So the money ends up being removed from your account, and you lose the item you sold as well.
You Send Money but Never Receive the Item
You're scouring the Internet for an in-demand item, such as tickets to a sold-out show. Once you find a seller, they ask you to pay via Apple Pay. Once you transfer the money, they disappear without sending the item.
In this example, a buyer agreed to a seller's terms to accept payment via Apple Pay. Unfortunately, the seller blocked him once he transferred the money, and the item never arrived.
Another twist on an Apple Pay scam involves fake emails, which appear to confirm a payment you've made. When you click on the link provided, you expect to be directed to the Apple Pay website to request a refund.
Instead, you'll be asked to enter your financial information, which scammers will then use to steal your money and possibly your identity.
Messages that ask for your information, or appear to confirm some changes to your account, are typically phishing messages that only want to steal your information.
Even the most authentic-looking emails can end up being a scam. In the below example, this Apple Pay receipt indicates an "integrated purchase" totaling $155.99. If someone clicks the link, they'll need to enter their Apple ID, email address, and billing details.
Although the person receiving the email wasn't actually charged (since this isn't a genuine receipt), the scammer now has access to their Apple Pay account and financial information, laying the groundwork for future fraudulent activity.
A scammer could intercept your payment information on your Apple device if you enter your card information in Apple Pay or make other changes to your account while using an unsecured WiFi network. They could then use it to make unauthorized purchases.
Strange Payment Requests
You might receive a request from a company or individual asking you to make a payment via Apple Pay messaging. Even if the sender includes an official logo, they are likely an impostor.
How To Beat and Avoid Apple Pay Scams
Apple Pay is simple to use, but you should always treat it with caution, as you would your bank account or cash.
Take these precautions to avoid becoming the victim of an Apple Pay scam:
- Send and receive payment only to/from people you know.
- Report payment requests from strangers.
- Don't accept payment automatically (change your settings).
- Review transactions regularly.
- Be careful with accidental transactions.
- Enable additional security settings.
- Link your card to a credit card vs. a bank account.
Send and Receive Payments Only To/From People You Know
Make sure you confirm the identity of any person who contacts you through Apple Pay. You might recognize the name, but a scammer could be impersonating your friend.
If you weren't expecting a payment, reach out to your friend personally to verify the payment is legitimate.
Report Payment Requests From People You Don't Know
If someone sends a payment request and you don't know them, click on the option to "Report Junk." You can also block the sender.
Change Settings to Accept Payments Manually
The default option in Apple Pay enables you to accept payments automatically. To ensure you don't accept payments from scammers, change your payment approval settings to "manual" so you can always review the payments.
Review Recent Transactions
Make sure that any payments you've received are genuine by checking out the payment details in the Recent Transactions section of Apple Pay. It may take a few days for payments to go through, so it's best to confirm the payment was successful before sending an item that you sold online.
Exercise Caution With Payments Sent "By Mistake"
If someone sends you money in error, ask them to cancel the transaction—you should not have to return the money. If they refuse, it's very likely a scam.
Enable Additional Security Settings
Never change your Apple Pay settings or financial information while logged into an unsecured network. Check your settings to turn on additional security settings, such as multi-factor authentication or log in by PIN or fingerprint recognition.
Link to a Credit Card
If you're scammed out of your money, you'll have more recourse with your credit card company than you would with a debit card or bank account.
Warning Signs to Watch Out For
Apple Pay's simple, clean design and accessibility make it a target for scammers. When you use the digital payment service, make sure you're aware of these red flags so you can stay safe:
- Strange messages.
- Receiving payments or payment requests from people you don't know.
- Pressure to use Apple Pay.
Use caution when you receive emails or messages from Apple Pay claiming you've received a payment or need to update your account info. Do not click on any links in emails that claim to be from Apple Pay. These messages will contain sloppy wording, misspellings, and grammatical errors.
Pay Attention to Links
Fake Apple Pay emails will contain links to fake Apple websites designed to steal your information. Before clicking on any links, make sure they take you to the genuine Apple website (Apple.com).
Receiving Payments or Requests From Strangers
Be suspicious of any payments or payment requests that come in from people or companies you don't recognize or anyone you have never contacted before. These unsolicited messages and requests usually tend to be the work of scammers.
Pressure To Use Apple Pay
Usually, only scammers will pressure you to use Apple Pay. They know they'll have an easier time disappearing with your money when using the digital payment system. If you need to pay someone and they refuse all other forms of payment (e.g., cash, PayPal, etc.), you should proceed with caution.
What To Do if You've Fallen for Apple Pay Scams
As a victim of an Apple Pay scam, you're probably wondering whether it's possible to get your money back. Here are the steps you should take next:
- Cancel your Apple Pay transfers
- Dispute the payment
- Update your passwords
- Report the scam
Cancel Transactions in Apple Pay
If you sent money to a scammer, you could try to cancel the transaction within Apple Pay. You can also contact your bank or credit card company to report that your payment resulted from a scam and see if they can reverse it.
Dispute the Payment With Apple Pay
If your efforts to cancel the payment through your bank are unsuccessful, another option is to dispute the payment directly with Apple Pay. First, tap the transaction in your account and select "Report an Issue," then "Charge Dispute."
Update Your Passwords
If you clicked on any links in a fake Apple Pay message, change your Apple Pay password immediately. Contact your bank or credit card company if you believe your financial information may have been compromised.
Always Use Strong, Unique Passwords
It's essential to use a unique password for every online account—this protects you if your information is stolen. Use a password manager to help you keep track of all of your different passwords.
Report Apple Pay Scams to the Authorities
Depending on the type of Apple Pay scam that you fell victim to, you should report it to the appropriate authorities, such as:
- Your local police
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)