CAUTION- Do this BEFORE upgrading  iOS or before getting a new iPhone
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(Note, this article was originally published September 17, 2013 when the iPhone 5 was released.  It has been updated for newest iOS 10–steps haven’t changed since iOS7)
Whether you are buying an iPhone 7 or 7+ or upgrading to …

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Tips to Protect your iTunes Store Account

Submitted by on July 13, 2010 – 3:04 pmNo Comment

Photo from Engadget

I don’t like to jump on the bandwagon and bash a company.  And I don’t like doom and gloom.  But sometimes it would be irresponsible to not to caution my readers and give them tips to protect themselves, or at least be informed.

Apple has been going through a rough period ever since their iPhone 4 was released.  First, a design flaw in the new phone causes calls to be dropped when holding the phone on the edges where the antenna is built-in.  Then, the announcement that their software may have been overestimating the phone signal strength by a couple of bars (every time I look at my phone now, I question it, “3 bars? Really? Am I going to lose signal here?” ). Apple promised an update on their firmware to fix that but it is slow in coming. Read more about it.

And now reports about “App Farming.”  These are applications that, once downloaded on your phone, make purchases without your knowledge or authorization. And reports of hacking directly into iTunes accounts. iTunes accounts are being hacked by these App Developer thieves who then use your account to buy their apps at exorbitant prices (like $90) or even buy apps for little, to earn a top downloaded app status and gain exposure. Apple has stated Developer Thuat Nguyen and his apps have been removed from the iTunes store.

They also claim that only 400 of 150 million users were affected. (That’s some pretty low odds of you being affected…still forewarned is forearmed.)

Apple has announced that it will ask for the security code on the back of your credit card more frequently. As most people simply have the card on file for convenient purchases, now, you’ll have to make sure that you have the card nearby or remember the code.

Does this mean you should be afraid of making online purchases in the app store?  No, just be careful.  Here’s some tips to help.

TIP:  Here’s an easier way to protect yourself:
Use gift cards.  When you think you want to do some iTunes shopping, buy a gift card.  They can be found in grocery stores, Target, and usually anywhere that sells iPods or iPhones. The added bonus is that by buying a gift card, say $15, you can keep yourself within a certain budget, reducing your impulse purchases.

IMPORTANT TIP:
Be vigilant.  If you use a debit card linked to your iTunes account… It is a good habit to check your online banking daily anyway and note any unauthorized charges or debits.  Whether it is a credit card or debit card, you are usually protected against unauthorized charges, contact your bank or credit card company.

Go to your iTunes account (upper right corner when connected to iTunes store), and check your purchase history.  Even if an app is free, if you didn’t buy it, be sure to check your iphone, iPod, iTunes. If it’s on your phone and you didn’t buy it and it’s downloaded, delete it! (With the exception of Apple apps like Maps, stocks, contacts etc.) Some of these apps were making purchases from within the app.

TIP: If you suspect your account has been compromised or used: Change your password immediately.  Might be a good idea to change your password from time to time anyway…keep the bad guys guessing.

For a long time, Mac users were ignored by the malicious hackers and virus creators because Mac was such a small percentage of computer users.  With the popularity of iPhones and iPads, it seems that we Mac users should start paying attention.


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