This past Friday, July 19th, Singapore police cautioned citizens to make sure they don’t fall victim to a new iPhone video game scam. To be clear, this is not a scam being conducted by Apple, but criminals using the Apple iOS to exploit its users.
Scammers will use social media sites such as Facebook—and even Twitter—to recruit game testers for different iOS mobile games. They will post ads or reach out to random social media accounts in an attempt to entice users into testing smartphone games in exchange for a suspiciously high hourly payment.
The scammer will then request their new recruit to log-in to their Apple ID account using an iPhone. However, the individual is not to use their own username and password but one that the scammer provides for them. Once logged into the phone, the scammer will instruct the applicant to activate “lost mode” in the “Find My Phone” option.
Before the newly recruited “game tester” can react, their iPhone is locked and cannot be used. The scammer will keep the iPhone hostage until the owner sends a specific amount of money as payment for regaining control of their phone.
It is unknown whether the scammer is accessing any private information as they wait for the payment. Either way, not having control over your phone can be unnerving. If this happens to you, immediately contact Apple Support in order to get your phone unlocked and the incident reported to the authorities.
Always be on the lookout for red flags when interacting with potential employers on social media accounts. Although social media can be used to recruit employees, it’s very difficult to determine which companies are authentic. When contacted through social media by an employer always ask for a website address or official application. If neither of those can be provided, discontinue interaction and block the account.
Do not allow strangers to gain access to your private accounts or information. Only use your personal Apple ID username and password regardless of what is promised you in return. Game developers are required to follow protocol when hiring game testers. Although many will use third party companies for recruiting, the recruiters will require you to visit their website to apply.
If a “game testing” company promises you anything more than $10-$15 an hour to test out mobile games, it’s more than likely a scam. Mobile game testing isn’t a lucrative paying career and is more of a side gig for a little extra cash. Most video game testers go through specific training in order to recognize game design and control flaws during the pre-launch phase of development.