When you receive a FaceTime call from someone you don’t know, it could be a scam.  When iOS 13 introduced the “Silence Unknown Callers” option scammers had to find new tricks.  They are usually hiding behind a fake identity or stolen number and calling as many as 31 phone numbers at once. They may simply be verifying your number to steal it, they may even demand money.

Since It is essential to know what to look for, here are some ways to spot a scammer and protect yourself from their tricks. The first method to protect yourself is to not answer the call.  Anytime there is a call from a number that isn’t in your contact list, especially on FaceTime, don’t take the call.  This is your first and best line of defense.

FaceTime Scammers are usually overseas

You may have noticed that FaceTime calls from unknown numbers keep popping up on your phone. It seems as though you receive 2 or more group calls in a row with anywhere from 5 to 30 other “people” on the call.  All of the numbers are likely scammers. The only way to stop these calls is to manually block each number in the group. That’s a lot of hassle, but it’s the only way to stop the annoying spam calls. Apple has not yet made the “Silence Unknown Callers” feature active for iMessage and FaceTime.

FaceTime Scammers hide behind false identities

Facetime scammers usually hide behind false identities to entrap victims. Just this morning I received calls from a number that checked out.  Using Privacy Star to verify the numbers, I saw they were real numbers used by real people.  The Scammers had verified the number and spoofed it.

Just like stealing your phone number and using VOIP, if you answer one of these scammer calls, they now know your number is legit.  Sometimes they act like you know them and “have a deal for you”.  Sometimes they are just trying to steal your number.

These scammers have been doing it offline for decades, and while the strategies are no different the methods are changing. They usually pretend to be victims of a catastrophic event to obtain money. The victims are fooled into believing that they’re doing the right thing and send money to the scammer.

Scammers may call 20 or more numbers at a time

The latest prank involves pranksters adding random people to a mass FaceTime call. This group FaceTime call only rings once or twice before the scammer returns the call and calls another person in the list. Apple security measures are ineffective in stopping mass FaceTime spam. While blocking individual numbers and accounts will prevent unwanted calls, you can’t block groups en masse. That means you’ll have to manually block all of those numbers for each prank.

The best long term solution until Apple lets you block calls not in your contact list is to simply turn facetime off until you want to make a call.