"Your iPhoneXs is ready for PickUp" Scam - How to remove

If you use Google’s services like Gmail, you might have seen the update “Your iPhoneXs is ready for PickUp” — despite not having ordered one. This campaign affects mobile devices as well as desktop computers, and it’s caused by malicious spam that tricks Gmail to add events to your calendar automatically.

Variations of this scam include “Your iPhoneXs is ready for PickUp”, “Your iPhone XsMax is ready for PickUp”, and the reminder of this fake event says “Free iPhoneX is yours, fill your delivery address, offer available for 2 hours”. There are many scams similar to this one and they all try to make money from their victims, whether by getting them to pay some money, displaying them ads, or selling them a nonexistent product.

“Your iPhoneXs is ready for PickUp” was publicized over a week ago, at the end of August, but this sort of scam is an older problem that has barely changed over many years. Scams use multiple ways to spread and we can expect them to use more innovative distribution in the future.

“Your iPhoneXs is ready for PickUp” memo:

  • “Your iPhoneXs is ready for PickUp” notifications.
  • Unfamiliar events in Google Calendar.
  • Leaked email and other private data.
  • Money lost to this scam.
  • Spam emails with fake event invitations.
  • Change Google Calendar settings to not see events.
  • Mark “Your iPhoneXs is ready for PickUp” as spam.
  • Make sure your device is free of malware.

Is “Your iPhoneXs is ready for PickUp” dangerous?

The alerts, reminders, and notifications about this nonexistent iPhone are annoying for sure, but they can also be somewhat dangerous. Scams like “Your iPhoneXs is ready for PickUp” try to:

  • Get your personal information for targeted spam and phishing, possibly to try to steal your credit card.
  • Get money by tricking you to pay a token amount (like $1), then asking for more money for delivery and other fees.
  • Direct your traffic to advertised websites.

This isn’t the only scam of this type — there are “You’ve made the 5-billionth search”, “Win a New Phone”, “Your iPhone XS was reserved”, as well as alerts like “Your Windows is infected with 5 viruses”. New and old ones are being spread constantly because they’re lucrative: malware is made to profit its developers.

Other scams, the ones that tell you that your computer is infected, try to get you to install some malicious or useless software and then charge you for it.

“Your iPhoneXs is ready for PickUp” happens to use email to spread, but it can also be distributed in other ways, like social media messages and notification spam. Seeing such alerts often might mean that your device is infected with adware, or that your browser is hijacked by some malicious add-on. It could also be that you just have really bad luck with ads.

Causes and symptoms of the scam pop-up

“Your iPhoneXs is ready for PickUp” is set as an event in the Google Calendar. That’s because, depending on your settings, Gmail automatically ads events from emails to your Calendar, and the “Your iPhoneXs is ready for PickUp” event was sent to you as a spam email.

It’s hard to know where spammers got your email — it could have been guessed, or leaked by one of the many data breaches of various companies. If scammers have your email, be careful of phishing emails, scan every attachment and link before opening them — malicious spam is used to spread viruses a lot worse than this fake giveaway.

Your iPhoneXs is ready for PickUp

Some of the “Your iPhoneXs is ready for PickUp” symptoms are common with other scams and being aware of them is helpful when navigating the internet which is full of fake lotteries, investment scams, and other dangers.

  • Lots of scams use shortened links that hide the destination URL. This isn’t necessarily damning, but it is suspicious: malicious ad campaigns and networks make use of shortened URLs a lot.
  • “Your iPhoneXs is ready for PickUp” uses email and web addresses that aren’t official. Some scammers might make them look official, though, as there are tricks such as homograph attacks and email spoofing.
  • Various countdowns are a clear sign of a scam. They’re meant to stress you out and make you act carelessly.
  • Winning a lottery that you didn’t sign up for is usually a sign that it’s fake.
  • Any messages that start with “Congratulations”, “You won…” or “You’re infected…” should be scrutinized, they’re likely scams.

How to get rid of “Your iPhoneXs is ready for PickUp” reminders

First of all, don’t open the link that this message includes.

If you do that, don’t enter your details, especially not your credit card details, anywhere. This type of scam always requires you to pay a token amount which is used to extract some of your data and done before trying to get you to pay more, so be careful.

Don’t download anything that the site might tell you to download, and if you do, remove it and scan your computer with an anti-virus program. Spam can be a symptom of an adware virus or a data stealer on your computer, so a scan might be helpful to find out if your browsing might be interfered with by a virus — use a professional program like Spyhunter (PC), Combo-Cleaner (Mac), or another trusted application. That will alert you about malware and poor-reputation programs, but it’s not going to fix the┬ádamage if any has already been done.

This article by How-To Geek has very detailed instructions on how to manage your Google calendar in a way that unexpected events aren’t automatically added to your calendar. In short, you can open your Google Calendar using your preferred device, then open the menu for the offending event, and mark it as spam.

To avoid future scam events, when you’re in the Calendar application, click the gear icon, open the Settings, Event settings, and change the “Automatically add invitations” setting to “No…”. This should stop future spam from being added to your calender.

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