A Georgia resident, Kwamaine Jerell Ford, who was caught accessing the Apple ID accounts of professional musicians and athletes, has pled guilty to accessing the accounts and stealing credit card information from the victims. He pled guilty to one count of computer fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
The Verge reports Ford targeted well-known musicians and professional athletes, tricking the victims into providing their Apple account passwords. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Virginia says the case demonstrates the need to be careful in protecting personal information and passwords.
“The high profile victims in this case are an example that no matter who you are, hackers like Ford are trying to get your personal information,” said Chris Hacker Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “This case demonstrates the need to be careful in protecting personal information and passwords, especially in response to suspicious e-mails. Hopefully this is a lesson for everyone, not just the victims in this case.”
Beginning in March 2015, Ford targeted NBA and NFL players, as well as rappers. He sent thousands of phishing emails spoofing legitimate Apple customer service accounts. Ford asked the victims to send their usernames, passwords, and answers to security questions.
Ford then used the informations to log into the targets’ accounts, in an attempt to take the accounts over. Apple says there were hundreds of unauthorized logins to the victims’ accounts.
Once the accounts were accessed, Ford used stolen credit card details to purchase air travel, furniture, hotels, money transfers, and more.
As we usually do in reports such as this, we’d like to remind you that Apple will never cold call or email you asking for account information. Any calls or emails claiming to be Apple and requesting this information are 100% fake.
If you’d like more information about avoiding phishing attempts, you can read more on this Apple support page.