Don't fall for this iPhone 15 fake recall scam

iPhone 15 review images
(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

If you get a call asking you to return your "recalled" new iPhone 15, just say no.

Scammers are a fast and opportunistic bunch who are now, according to a new report, looking to cash in on Apple's admitted iPhone 15 overheating issues.

In a fascinating and worrisome story over at Mashable, a tech reporter was targeted by scammers who, posing as Verizon reps, tried to convince her to send them her new iPhone 15 before she'd even received and unboxed it. They said they had it on good authority that the phone she was receiving was among those that would overheat.

Let's rewind a bit. A couple of weeks ago, some iPhone 15 owners began reporting that the phone was getting too hot. In my own iPhone 15 review, I noted that the new phone "can run a little hot." It wasn't anything too concerning. New iPhones often run hot because they're scrambling in the background to restore your full backup, a process that can take days (depending on how often you have access to good Wi-Fi).

Apple admitted as much but also noted that, in addition to third-party background app activity, there was an iOS 17 bug that was "impacting some users." All of this was potentially "overloading the system." iOS 17.1, which should be coming soon, will address that iOS bug.

The scammers, though, have a different plan and by posing as legitimate carrier representatives, are trying to convince unsuspecting users that Apple issued a recall for the iPhone 15 to address the heating issues.

To be 100% clear: Apple has issued no such recall.

Doing the right thing

The Mashable reporter, though, is a smart cookie and contacted Verizon directly to find out exactly what was going on. This is good advice for virtually all phone scams. When someone calls you up and claims a weird recall, that you owe money to Amazon, or that your bank account has been breached, you hang up and call those companies directly.

The most incredible and cheeky part of this tale is that the scammers did send a FedEx truck to pick up the reporter's iPhone 15. She did not hand it over but had she done so, it would've, according to the report, gone to Florida, and not Apple's return center.

While we have no indication that this scam is widespread, there is a good chance some iPhone 15 owners and buyers out there could be targeted.

Just remember, scammers almost always call you, don't give them what they want, and then call the real company on your own. As for your iPhone 15, Apple has an iOS 17 update it wants to give you and you should definitely accept it.

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Lance Ulanoff
Editor At Large

A 38-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.

Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.