Apple’s “Crank Call” Highlights Hi-Tech Quandary

When an Apple VP called a woman in England to inform her that she’d won a $10,000 iTunes credit, she did what a lot of people might have done. She hung up on him, assuming he was a crank caller. Cult of Mac has more:

Davis says it was actually one of her two daughters who downloaded the 10 billionth app, winning the family a $10,000 iTunes gift card. Her daughters, 14 and 17, had downloaded several apps in the morning. One of them, the free Paper Glider app, was the magic 10 billionth app.

“The girls came down and said it wasn’t a prank,” Davis explains. “I had a moment of panic.” Davis tried to ring Apple back, but got an clueless operator on the company’s helpdesk, who was ultimately unable to help. “The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was a genuine call,” she says. “The girls were getting quite tense. They never would have forgiven me. They would have held it against me for all eternity.” Luckily, an Apple executive rang back a couple of hours later.

“I was hugely relieved,” says Davis. “I was getting really worried.”

A jaded attitude towards spammers of any kind–phone, SMS, email, social media–has become the norm, and rightly so. But, as Davis proved, this can lead to missed opportunities. How do you not miss anything while staying safe from spammers, especially in an era where everyone’s spoofing caller IDs? There are beginnings, or partial solutions, likeapps like this one. Or screening all calls you get from unfamiliar numbers.

But when everyone is getting inundated with spam and wannabe cons all the time, it’s nearly impossible for a human to successfully take on the entire security onus. My vote is for better spam filters and alerts not only on email, but on cell phones and SMS, too. These features should be bulletproof as possible and built into any new versions. But until that happens, when it comes to tech, arming yourself to the teeth can only help.

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