September 7, 2022

Consumers warned against iPhone 14 upgrade scams

Cifas and Mobile UK are warning consumers of the rise in social engineering attacks on mobile phone users ahead of the rumoured announcement on the latest iPhone.

Recent years have seen a significant increase in criminals committing identity fraud and impersonating consumers to take out phone contracts and enter into telecoms purchase agreements. Identity Fraud on telecoms products rose by 17% in the first six months of 2022 compared to 2021, mainly targeting those aged between 31 and 50 years old.

To enable this crime, fraudsters use social engineering tactics to trick individuals out of their personal, banking and account details. This may be through phishing emails, or often by voice phishing (vishing): which simply means scammers are calling people up, impersonating mobile phone operators and offering free upgrades. By asking victims for their details to pass a fake security check, criminals will attempt to engineer enough information out of an individual to be able to successfully impersonate them with a mobile phone company. Once complete, fraudsters use this access to place orders for the newest phones.

Ahead of Apple’s ‘Far Out’ event on 7 September, Cifas and Mobile UK are warning consumers of the risk of fraud as criminals prepare to launch their attacks.

In addition to contacting victims over the phone, reports have also been received of criminals using WhatsApp and social media platforms to impersonate mobile phone companies.

Members of the public are reminded to Take Five before parting with their personal and banking details. If something feels suspicious or too good to be true, hang up, wait a moment and call you telecom provider or bank back directly. Scam texts can be forwarded to 7726, and phone numbers operating scam calls can be reported by texting ‘CALL’ to 7726 and following the prompts.

Commenting on the risk to consumers, Cifas’ Head of Fraud Intelligence, Amber Burridge, said:

‘Criminals are always ready to take advantage of new product launches, and they’ll certainly be looking to cash in from the excitement of the iPhone release.
‘As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, twelve-month or twenty-four-month phone contracts taken out around this time will be up for renewal, giving criminals a better chance at convincing consumers their fake offer of a phone upgrade is genuine.
‘If you receive a call from someone purporting to be a mobile phone company offering you a new mobile phone or an upgrade, always be sceptical and challenge the caller. Never give away your personal details or a One Time Passcode if someone calls you unexpectedly.
‘Don’t be afraid to hang up and call your mobile phone company back on a number you have researched yourself to ensure the offer is genuine. Only fraudsters will try to rush or panic you.’

Gareth Elliott, Head of Policy and Communications at Mobile UK, said:

‘Fraudsters remain a threat to the public and their methods are increasingly sophisticated. As an industry, the mobile network operators and Mobile UK continue working to shrink the threat that fraudsters pose to the public. We urge consumers to remain vigilant and to help us act by texting reports of nuisance SMS to 7726, and reporting suspicious calls.’
‘If you have given away your personal details and believe you are at risk of identity fraud, then consider a Cifas Protective Registration to protect yourself from identity fraud. For further information on how to protect yourself against mobile phone fraud, visit the Mobile UK website.’


Notes to editors

About Cifas

Cifas is the UK’s fraud prevention service. We lead the fight against fraud by sharing data, intelligence and learning. The organisations that collaborate with us are drawn from all sectors, operating in both the public and private sectors working together to stop fraud. A full list of our members can be found on our website.

Organisations that work with Cifas, contribute to and benefit from the UK’s largest databases of fraud risk data and intelligence. We are committed to the principle of collaboration, which connects and drives our community, and enables the sharing of:

Data - We enable the secure sharing of high quality, trusted data to fight fraud. Our databases are the most comprehensive and diverse sources of fraud risk data in the UK.

Intelligence - We provide research and dynamic intelligence that influences the threat picture and strengthens the response against fraud.

Learning - We are a leading provider of accredited education and trusted training.

About Mobile UK

Mobile UK is the trade association for the UK’s mobile network operators - EE, Virgin Media O2, Three and Vodafone. Mobile UK’s mission is to work with Government, regulators, civil society and others to harness the power of mobile to improve the lives of our customers and the prosperity of the UK as a whole.

For further information, please contact:

Ione Gyamfi, Press & PR Manager, Cifas

020 4551 7956 /

About Building Mobile Britain

Building Mobile Britain logo

Building Mobile Britain is a campaign created by Mobile UK seeking to work with national and local government, as well as interested industry groups to overcome the challenges we face with expanding the existing mobile networks, while also developing innovative services for customers.

See here for further information - or #BuildingMobileBritain

Media Contacts

Gareth Elliott
Head of Policy and Communications
Tel: 07887 911 076

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