Have you ever gotten a pop-up alert on your iPhone or iPad warning you that iOS has crashed and you need to call the number on the screen to solve the issue?
It’s a scam — but fortunately, you can fix it yourself.
Recent surge in ‘iOS crash warning’ alerts
Read more: Beware, iPhone users! Fake apps on the rise
A lot of Apple users have been reporting the same problem recently: what appears to be an iOS ‘crash report’ alert pops up on the screen, with no option to dismiss it, when you try to open Safari.
According to reports, there are several variations of the exact wording, but here are a couple of examples from ZDNet of what it may look like:
‘Warning!! iOS Crash Report!!. Due to a third party application in your device, iOS is crashed. Contact Support for Immediate Fix.’
‘There is a problem with the configuration of your iOS. Please call Apple Technical Support.’
According to ZDNet, the scam first showed up back in 2014 but has recently become widespread again.
In fact, some users of this website have reported that they experienced the problem when they tried to access Clark.com via Facebook.
The good news is, it’s not us!
The scam appears to only be targeting Safari on Apple devices — and the alert is prompted when a user tries to access any website in the browser.
Read more: This text message scam will steal your banking info
Dangers of the scam
Smartphone scams have become an extremely effective way for criminals to get their hands on people’s personal information — for a variety of reasons.
Much of what we do on our smartphones is personal — whether it’s texting, email, social media or anything else — and unfortunately, this routine has caused people to develop a false sense of security. So for example, when Apple users see an alert that appears to be an official iOS notification, they may not think twice.
And that’s exactly why these scams work — and why you should always hesitate before responding to any type of unsolicited message.
In this case, the alert provides users with a toll-free number to call based on their location. When you call the number, someone claiming to be from Apple answers and says you need provide your financial information in order to make the alert go away.
But of course, it doesn’t go away and you’ve just given out your personal information to thieves.
Read more: Why you need two-factor authentication on every account
How to get rid of it
If you get this alert or a similar type of notification, you can typically get rid of it by clearing your website history.
Just follow these steps:
- Switch your iPhone or iPad into Airplane Mode.
- Go to Settings > Safari and scroll down to Clear History and Website Data.
- Once you’ve cleared the history, close the Safari app by double-tapping the Home button and swiping up on Safari.
- Turn Airplane Mode off and restart Safari.
To prevent similar issues from happening in the future, you can block pop-ups from appearing on your phone.
- Go to Settings > Safari and switch on the Block Pop-ups button.